The Ballad of Sara and Thor
On a September evening shortly before the millennium, a recent graduate of a small liberal arts college in upstate New York murdered his girlfriend in the parking lot of an Episcopal Church. Andrew McCarron, the author of The Ballad of Sara and Thor, was friendly with the couple, within earshot of the murder, and among the first to arrive on the scene. The assailant was eventually declared not guilty by reason of insanity and remanded into the custody of a New York mental health facility. After a few years, he was deemed rehabilitated and underwent the process of societal reintroduction. The Ballad of Sara and Thor is not only about this murder. The semi-fictionalized story draws on the genre of a murder ballad to detail the experiences of a young person undergoing the universal process of maturation and define what it is to be human. While few young adults bear witness to such a horrific event, most are faced with experiences that suddenly and starkly shatter the relatively simple existence of youth into the shades of grey that characterize a mature experience of the world. In publishing this novella, Station Hill Press aims to respect the author’s wishes that attention be brought not to the sensational aspects of a crime of passion. Rather, we wish to emphasize the book’s underlying and painfully beautiful arch of the coming of age of a consciousness passing from that of a young college student into an adult. The Ballad of Sara and Thor is at once a morality tale, murder ballad, and psychological true-detective exploration of the motivations and implications behind the violent death of a promising young person.