To celebrate Halloween, we asked some of our favorite authors to tell us what terrifies them. Here’s what Shani Boianjiu – author of The People of Forever Are Not Afraid – told us. (Like her novel, Shani’s list is funny and terrifying at the same time.) What terrifies you, RIFers? Leave a comment below!
1. Dead Fish. I love fish and am not at all scared of them – when they are alive. But I have never in my life eaten any type of fish or seafood and never will. I have a huge fear that I’ll accidentally eat something with fish or even eat food that touched fish. I have alot of explanations for what this stems from but I am not sure I believe any of them. I just know I will never willingly eat fish.
2. Military Police. Even five years after I finished my military service, I still panic when I see the blue berets of military police in train stations and bus stops. When I was a soldier I was always wearing forbidden makeup or jewelry or socks or hair ties and even now that I know they can’t do anything to me as a civilian I still panic when I see them and warn the soldiers I can see. I really shouldn’t be that scared because they never caught me when I was a soldier, even though I always had a burgundy hair tie.
3. Getting Old. I just can’t see myself being a real grown up, even though I am reaching the age where I am. This is VERY scary. In general people in their thirties confuse me – I just don’t get what makes them do the odd things they do.
What We're Reading This WeekGet recommendations for the greatest books around straight to your inbox every week.
4. Driving. I don’t have a licence to drive, and don’t think I’ll ever get one. I have never driven a car. I get scared when other people drive me. I get scared when people I love drive without me. I don’t get people who are scared of planes and snakes or snakes on planes but not of driving. Statistically driving is one of the most dangerous (and environmentally harmful) things anyone can do.
5. Unforgiving People. Because everyone will one day need a second chance. And we as people should give it much, much more often than we do now.
SHANI BOIANJIU was born in 1987 in a small town on the Israel/Lebanon border, and she served in the Israeli Defense Forces for two years. Her fiction has been published in Vice magazine and Zoetrope: All Story. Shani is the youngest recipient ever of the National Book Foundation’s 5 under 35 Award, for which she was chosen by Nicole Krauss. She lives in Israel. The People of Forever Are Not Afraid is available from Hogarth wherever books are sold.