Biguenet, John

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Annotated by:
Miksanek, Tony
  • Date of entry: Mar-28-2001


While still dating, Sami learns that she is pregnant by Steven. The couple gets married and begins the transformation into prospective parents. Steven's study is turned into a nursery. Sami starts bleeding during the pregnancy and she is placed on bedrest. Unfortunately, Sami has a miscarriage.

When Steven finally decides to clean out the nursery, he finds a sad child occupying the room. Sometimes the baby disappears. After Steven informs his wife about the nursery's occupant, Sami is initially upset but soon she too sees the baby. She dubs the child "Stevie" and accepts the boy as her own, even nursing the baby. Slowly Steven comes to embrace the child as his son, unsure what he had resisted for such a long time.


In this haunting story, a grieving couple learns firsthand the devastation of loss and the peril of pity. Is the child in the nursery a ghost, a shared hallucination or a product of the couple's love? Sami is convinced he exists because the baby needs them, but Steven suspects the child lives because they need the baby.

Both Sami and Steven along with the reader fall victim to the gravity of emptiness. Like other stories written by Biguenet, "Fatherhood" illustrates the depth of human sorrow and the notion that the truth is anything but obvious.

Primary Source

The Torturer's Apprentice



Place Published

New York



Page Count