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Guest Post, by Thomas Cooper: A Sentence About a Sentence I Love

“The vanishing of the doctor’s wife’s child in broad daylight was an event so cataclysmic that it forever divided time into the then and the now, the before and the after.”
–From “The Paperhanger,” by William Gay
On this doom-laden, quasi-biblical note, William Gay begins his menacing modern fairy tale, “The Paperhanger,” introducing an omniscient voice that unravels dispassionately, in cadences reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy, always withholding when a less skilled writer would divulge, refusing to explain a violent world’s caprices and keeping us at arm’s length from the titular character in a way that renders him all the more sinister and cryptic.

  • John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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