Question: Why does Xerxes serve his father Fruity Pebbles?
Khakpour: Well I wanted to at that moment give the most mundane edibles of American existence, right? For young people particularly, I wanted to create . . . Even though Xerxes has gotten his first apartment in New York, it might as well have just been a dorm. He had no real food. He had, you know, dry cereal, stale milk, and some odds and ends in the house. And for the father who was just visiting him for the first time in New York, it was a shock. You know in Iran and in Iranian households out here, food is major. And food is a celebration, and it’s always a feast. And you don’t . . . You know my parents were always horrified when they would hear of how I lived in the States; and how, you know . . . how I always had this scrappy, college-like existence. They would probably think the same today if they visited my apartment. But it’s so at odds with the sort of natural grandeur that Persian households try to instill. So I wanted . . . I think that that was sort of an easy moment for cultural reflection. You know I think it’s a lot of those mundane things, a lot of those small details that add up to the bigger conflicts. Those . . . those little moments where people see their differences that create greater and greater divides. And for the father and son in the novel, those differences ultimately reach a really devastating boiling point that looks irreparable.