“Are you sure you want me to tell you? I don’t want to ruin your life,” Kristen Roupenian teases, eyes wide, hands stretched flat on the white tablecloth as she leans forward. I’m sitting opposite the breakout literary star in a leather booth in the middle of a nearly deserted dining room in midtown Manhattan. We are below street level, and the room is brightly lit. Greek music plays in the background. It’s the dreary part of winter, when every day blends in to the next, and at 2pm the lunch rush has already passed, if there ever was one. With three courses ahead of us, I am not sure, but I take the bait. The story: in the suburbs of Boston, a teenager and his little brother are in a park playing with gunpowder. He blows his hand off. Then he drives himself, “arm out the window, blood gushing” to hospital, where Roupenian was working in the emergency room as an assistant. “The doctor asked me to hold his arm up like this,” she’s gesturing with her own limbs, propping her elbow perpe...

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