Why We Chose It: “The Fair” by Will Hearn

By Evan Fackler, Fiction Editor

When Nic, the African-American narrator of Will Hearn’s story “The Fair,” travels to Neshoba County to meet his girlfriend’s all-white family for the first time, his interactions are shadowed by the general history of race in the American South, as well as the specific history of the murder of several Civil Rights activists in the area during the Civil Rights Movement. Meanwhile, Nic’s own upbringing in Louisiana and his knowledge of (and love for) the Creole language (as opposed to his girlfriend’s continental French) come to mark him in complex ways as a body differently situated within the cultural and historical space of The Fair. 

In prose both strikingly clear and richly evocative, “The Fair” is both deeply personal and profoundly political. It’s a story that explores not only how the histories we share end up coloring the specific ways we relate to one another across various sites of difference, it also explores the central irony of this legacy: that we are rarely ever actually present for those historical moments that give context to our most intimate interactions. The pervasive but unsettling disembodiedness of this shared history is suggested by Nic’s experience of the faira place where he goes throughout the story without ever being able to fully recall it.

This is complex and interesting work, and a prime example of what I search for when I’m reading through submissions for The Greensboro Review: stories that locate a shared political and cultural history within the minutiae of daily, intimate life.

Will Hearn’s “The Fair” appears in our new Spring 2020 Issue 107.


Evan Fackler is an MFA candidate in fiction at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he lives with his wife and their cat, Zadie. His reviews and interviews can be found at Entropy Magazine and storySouth.