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The Fourth State of Ma...
Jo Ann Beard
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The Fourth State of Matter

4.78 of 5 stars 4.78  ·  rating details  ·  72 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Unbound, article
Published June 24th 1996 by The New Yorker

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Lauren Bailey
This is the best essay I've ever read. Stunning.
Unbelievably good. Flawless. A personal essay doing the work of a short story, and more, I think.

It seems like there will be a 50% chance, when you start reading this, that you already know what it is about. It's not hard to find out, but I think not knowing was… not better, but different. Halfway through, I realized that it was not so sad just because of the dog — I remembered what I'd read earlier on Wikipedia, really — and what I was in for. So I'm going to leave that unsaid and leave it up t
Gillian Martin
This is a brilliant piece of personal narrative that appeared in The New Yorker in the 90's.
She weaves multiple parallel narratives masterfully and is very well crafted. A perfect example of 'show
and don't tell'
The collision of all threads of life, defining a moment when everything hangs in stillness....what a beautiful and achingly sad essay this is. Truly profound! I appreciated how Beard led us through all the happenings in her life - her collie, the squirrels, her absent husband - alongside the main thread of her narrative, the massacre of her loved friends and colleagues. Her ability to even get into the head of the shooter was laudable. Not one thread sits dominant on the other. Rather they all f ...more
whoa, amazing essay
Shaun Bossio
No words. Check it out for free thanks to The New Yorker.
my favorite non-fiction piece to this day.
Leland William
An incredible essay. Read it
Justin Hughes
Amazing creative non-fiction piece. Funny, and incredible skill in mixing story lines. Recommended!
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Jo Ann Beard is the author of a collection of autobiographical essays, The Boys of My Youth. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Essays, and other magazines and anthologies. She received a Whiting Foundation Award and nonfiction fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts.
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