Andrew McNabb lives with his wife and four young children in the West End of Portland, Maine. He grew up in Massachusetts and is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and New York University. 

Short Story Collections

The Body of This
(Warren Machine Company, 2008)

reviewed by Elizabeth Rutherford-Johnson

Interview with Andrew McNabb

The Short Review: How long did it take you to write all the stories in your collection?

AM: Approximately two years for the actual stories, but if you count the apprenticeship to get to the point where I was able to write the stories, close to ten.

TSR: Did you have a collection in mind when you were writing them?

AM: Yes.  I am a short story writer, not a novelist dabbling in the short form. And though The Body of This is my first book, I have been publishing stories widely for quite a few years. I intentionally worked within a certain theme - in this case, architecture, carnality - with this series of stories, though, because my previous stories were all over the map and as a result lacked a cohesion necessary to attract a publisher.

TSR: How did you choose which stories to include and in what order?

AM: That was done jointly with the publisher, though I was given the ultimate say. I chose the story The Architecture of Things as the first story because I feel it captures all of the themes that run throughout the book and because it is perhaps the most controversial. 

TSR: What does the word "story" mean to you?

AM:  Work.

TSR: Do you have a reader in mind when you write stories?

AM:  Oh, maybe. But ultimately it doesn’t really matter. I have come to learn the golden rule that a competent narrative relies on the author drawing from that pool where inspiration comes from. If you try to write “for” a particular type of reader, the result will usually be less than satisfactory.

TSR: Is there anything you'd like to ask someone who has read your collection, anything at all?

AM: Would you buy my next book based on having read the first one?

TSR: How does it feel knowing that people are buying your book?

AM: Pretty incredible, but because I am a human being I am rarely satisfied with anything in life; though the book is selling well, and is on track to outsell the vast majority of story collections released this year, I can’t help but wish that more people would buy the book. I know that sounds awful. It’s just that I have four young kids. And they like to eat. A lot.

TSR: What are you working on now?

AM: Another collection, God help me.

TSR: What are the three most recent short story collections you've read?

AM: Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, The Portable Virgin and Yesterday’s Weather (Taking Pictures), both by Anne Enright.
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Find out what other authors, from Aimee Bender to Sana Krasikov, said about their collections, what the word "story" means to them, and how it feels to know that people are buying your books! More interviews >>>

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