Ben Stroud is the author of the story collection Byzantium, which won the 2013 Story Prize Spotlight Award and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Fiction Prize. His stories have appeared in Harper’s, Zoetrope, and One Story, among other publications, and have been anthologized in New Stories from the South and Best American Mystery Stories.
A story by Ben Stroud from our Fall 2016 issue.
My Dear Master Liszt!
I have become a slave owner. Yes, like you I believe in the freedom of all men—your Hungarians, the Poles, the Rumanians!—and in the role we artists must play—light-bringers, revealers of passion, sympathizers with the oppressed! But I have become a slave owner. It is a stain, a mark of rot. How many stains have I come to bear in these last weeks? They are countless.