The Atlantic

What Novelists Can Learn From Playwrights

Brontez Purnell on writing fiction from a theater background
Source: Melissa Dale Neal

Editor’s Note: Read Brontez Purnell’s new short story, “Early Retirement.”

“Early Retirement” is taken from Brontez Purnell’s forthcoming novel-in-stories, 100 Boyfriends (available on February 2). To mark the story’s publication in The Atlantic, Purnell and Amy Weiss-Meyer, a deputy managing editor of the magazine, discussed the story over email. Their conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.


In the first few lines of the story, the narrator, Antonio, describes his new habit of applying Preparation H to the bags beneath his eyes. It’s a darkly funny introduction to a character who is both vain and shiftless,

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