Quarterly West is proud to announce that the winning novella from our 2013 contest is now for sale. Read what our judge Michael Martone had to say about it:
We often divide stories--novellas included--into the "traditional" and
the "experimental." What we usually mean by "traditional" is realistic
narrative that is, in reality, a grand experiment of the early 20th
century when psychological depth gets added to realistic depictions of
character. Sandy Downs
is an actual traditional "traditional" story
that harkens back to the transcendental wackiness of Poe, Hawthorne, and
Melville, tales gone wild. There is your American traditional
narrative--with its doubling, with its incest, with its deep deep desire
to be transported into realms of being beyond the mere "realistic" one.
Sandy Downs hits all those sublime notes and utilizes the novella
package expertly, the uncanny cannily. One must, must read out of the
corner of the eye this story about reading slant, about reading about
reading. The key question asked over and over is "how did you feel?" not
"what did you think?" Narratives pile up upon narrative and the stories
resist story-ness. Sandy Downs
is being driven, in a way, by the
familiar gears of detection and mystery but as with Poe and his great
invention, the locked room murder may be answered but the real mystery
of a great ape's is not "logically" explained. In the Rue Morgue and in
Sandy Downs we enter through words into a wordlessness that is
unsettling, unforgettable, un-understandable in the best of ways.
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