This piece is a chapter from my novel in progress. It addresses the question that is posed in its title – a confounding question that expresses one of the most acute obstacles to believing in the existence of God.
I began drafting this piece in 2010. In 2011, I was due to undertake a three-month Asialink writing residency in Japan. Ten days before my residency began, the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami occurred. I proceeded with my residency and spent intensive periods of my time in Japan working on the draft, no longer able to consider its topic from the more emotionally secure distance that I had maintained in 2010.
In the final days of the residency, I finished a complete draft of over 8000 words. Shortly afterwards, the piece was accepted for publication by the Australian journal Meanjin. Published in Volume 71, No. 1, the piece appeared in a new section of the journal, Meanjin Papers, that was designed to highlight one longer work in each issue.
(Note: To learn more about the development of this piece, read this blog post.)Buy the Meanjin issue