The narrator of “Wild Berry Blue” – one of 10 stories in Rivka Galchen’s quirky and disquieting new book, American Innovations – remembers the crush she had when she was nine years old on Roy, a cashier at McDonald’s.

Her father, a secular Jew who says things adults don’t usually say to kids – about the Oedipus complex, General Rommel, and the straits of Bosporus – tells her Roy is a recovering alcoholic.

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