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.
Thinking about the great Medgar Evers, today, fifty years after his brutal assassination. William Walsh reminded me about Eudora Welty‘s “Where Is the Voice Coming From?”, which depicts the murder from the warped perspective of Evers’s killer. It’s a fascinating portrait, casting light on conflicting narratives about race and class, identity and power. Welty only provides the killer’s viewpoint, but, ironically, through various moves (e.g., naming and putting a face on the victim (here renamed Roland Summers) while leaving the murderer nameless, faceless, not so much a blank, but a cauldron of ignorance and hate), attention is shifted and power is displaced, resulting in greater empathy and sympathy for the victim.