[Read “The Switch,” an excerpt from Stephen Dixon’s novel I., recently published by McSweeney’s. Please also read this interview with the author.]

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Stephen Dixon is one of the great secret masters — too secret. I return again and again to his stories for writerly inspiration, moral support and comic relief at moments of personal misery, and, several times, in a spirit of outright plagiaristic necessity: borrowing a jumpstart from a few lines of Dixon has been a real problem-solver in my own short fiction. And I will also treasure forever his manual-typewritten and scrawled manuscripts, and editorial notes, sometimes with food stains and torn edges, on the one occasion when I played the role of his editor (he offered stories, free of charge, to Fence magazine, when it was pretty much unknown) — Dixon is the last great messy correspondent. Please read him, you.