Joanna Biggs

  • We Took Out All the Books We Could

    IN AN ORDINARY CLASSROOM, ON AN ORDINARY DAY in an ordinary English childhood, a girl points at a box of books and says, “Look.” Look, she says, and another girl gets up, retrieves one of the school-owned hardbacks, and pushes it into her chest: “It was your idea.” The first girl is the narrator of Checkout 19, never named, and the second is one of her classmates; the high school moment is being remembered by the narrator, embroidered even in the remembering. Look, the grown-up narrator explains, “no child says ‘Look’ without meaning for something to happen. A child’s eyes are instinctively