Sarah Kokernot’s The Russians Have Come appears in the February issue. She talks to us about laughing at orphans, collecting things, and how much of her life is in stories.
1. What is the worst thing you have ever laughed at?
Sandra Bullock in “The Proposal”, but that’s probably not want you meant. Â I don’t know — orphans?
2. What do you collect?
I have a hard time getting rid of anything whose function is to hold or carry something. There is anÂ embarrassingÂ grocery bag collection underneath my kitchen counter.
3. Why must Russians always be tragic or sad?
I’m pretty sure they’re only that way in Cold-War-era action movies. Â Most of the Russians I’ve met have amazing parties at night and then get up very early in the morning to meditate. Â Or they’re out chasing butterflies.
4. How much of your life is in “The Russians Have Come”?
It’s difficult to say. Â None of this actually happened. Â It’s kind of based on kids I went to school with, and it’s kind of based on the way some teachers talk in the teachers’ lounge. Â This story originated from my discomfort at how peopleÂ deny an outsider’s complexity by over-relying on an assumed cultural perspective. Â Sometimes a weird Russian kid is just weird; it has nothing to do with her being Russian. Â She’s probably just nervous.
5. What would be the plot in the porno parody of this story?
I’m pretty sure the “we” gets it on in the supply closet at some point once all the kids are gone.
6. Who would you make vodka out of?
Winston Churchill, because he would taste like whiskey and soda.