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Mark Sundeen

Mark Sundeen is the author of several books, including The Man Who Quit Money (Riverhead, 2012) and The Making of Toro (Simon & Schuster, 2003). A contributing editor to Outside, his work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Believer, and McSweeney’s. He has taught fiction and nonfiction in the MFA creative-writing programs at the University of New Mexico and Southern New Hampshire University. “Beyond Empire’s Grip” is adapted from The Unsettlers (Riverhead, 2017).

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Construction by Gregory Euclide

Beyond Empire’s Grip

Winter 2017 | Articles

By the time the train approached the station, night had fallen. Sarah Wilcox gathered her bags and descended the stairs to the luggage rack. Her husband, Ethan Hughes, helped slide an unwieldy cardboard box toward the door. The steel floor rocked beneath her shoes. The conductor’s voice crackled over the loudspeaker: “This is not a smoking stop, folks. Unless this is your final destination, please stay on board the train. The next smoking stop will be Kansas City.” Sarah peered out the window but saw only her reflection. She turned to the woman beside her.

“Are you from here?”

The woman said she was.

“Can you see the stars here?”

“Oh, yes,” said the woman. “They’re beautiful.”