Cristina Henríquez is an Illinois-based writer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. Her short story collection Come Together, Fall Apart was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection. Her most recent novel is The Book of Unknown Americans, a love story between a Panamanian boy and Mexican girl, living in an apartment block of immigrant families.
1. What are three words you associate with your first relationship?
Innocent, Valentine’s, kiss.
2. What’s the worst thing you ever did for money?
Work in a grocery store deli while I was vegetarian.
3. What is your least favourite song?
“Wonderful Christmastime” by Paul McCartney.
4. What is your favourite song?
“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by The Beatles.
5. What’d you have for breakfast this morning?
A Ghiardelli chocolate square, pretzel rods, and coffee. Very healthy!
6. How do you feel about Joni Mitchell?
7. How did you learn what sex was?
From a book my mother gave me.
8. Where do you imagine all our lost T-shirts go?
People have a lot of lost T-shirts? I have a lot of lost socks. Maybe they’re with everyone else’s T-shirts somewhere.
9. Who do you consider the funniest person in the world—that we would know?
George Saunders. I weep sometimes when I read his stories because I’m laughing so hard.
10. What’s the worst insult you’ve ever said?
Eat hair! I thought of that one years ago. I’d like to say it more, but I don’t often have an opportunity.
11. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever been called?
A Pan (short for Panamanian).
12. What’s a deal breaker for someone you’re in a relationship or in love with?
You mean what’s a deal breaker for me? I would leave if someone repeatedly disrespected me. I have no tolerance for that.
13. What’s something you do every night before bed?
I always, always close my closet door.