The story of a man’s attempt to cure himself of a disastrous marriage. His wife, Rachel, had left him for the 2nd time taking their three children with her. He had set up a routine for himself and wouldn’t answer the telephone, for he wanted no reconciliation with Rachel. But he was unnerved by a peeping Tom, who appeared at the window every night. When he discovered it was a neighbor who was harmless he felt no better. He seemed to see a rope around his own neck and he couldn’t sleep. Finally he answered the telephone. It was Rachel and a reconciliation followed. Tom was never seen again and all was well. (via Fiction: The Cure : The New Yorker)
A side benefit of reading through (and blogging about) this Cheever collection is looking them up in The New Yorker archives. How great is this old NYer cover? How great is this as a story abstract?!? (also, key words: Husbands; Peeping Tom; Separation)
old The New Yorker ads!
Sarah Wrote That
Ads of The New Yorker, May 25, 1929
Maud Newton pointed to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Short Autobiography” (in drinks) from this issue, and leafing through its subsequent pages—frothy compared with today’s—I was struck by the number of ads for then-new apartments in buildings that are now “pre-war,” by the opulent assurance, and the copy that was thought to sell:
The Kelvinator is connected to the building supply pipes. The wire is plugged into a nearby electric outlet, and there is nothing more to do.
“Smart” was the adjective du jour—smart occasions, smart summer complexions, the new Central Park Casino “quite the smartest place to dine and dance in all New York.” The ads were agog with summer, proclaiming nights on the St. Regis Roof—”now in the full swing of its second brilliant season”—in diction only a few degrees removed from a New York summer preview; in the same pages as “Packard men” and, in a typewriter ad, “secretaries [who’ve] learned that quiet is one of the most willing aids to health and charm.”
At the tag end of nearly every long, large Saturday-night party in the suburb of Shady Hill, when almost everybody who was going to play golf or tennis in the morning had gone home hours ago and the ten or twelve people remaining seemed powerless to bring the evening to an end although the gin and whiskey were running low, and here and there a woman who was sitting out her husband would have begun to drink milk; when everybody had lost track of time, and the baby-sitters who were waiting at home for these diehards would have long since stretched out on the sofa and fallen into a deep sleep, to dream about cooking-contest prizes, ocean voyages, and romance; when the bellicose drunk, the crapshooter, the pianist, and the woman faced with the expiration of her hopes had all expressed themselves; when every proposal—to go to the Farquarsons’ for breakfast, to go swimming, to go and wake up the Townsends, to go here and go there—died as soon as it was made, then Trace Bearden would begin to chide Cash Bentley about his age and thinning hair. The chiding was preliminary to moving the living-room furniture. Trace and Cash moved the tables and the chairs, the sofas and the fire screen, the woodbox and the footstool; and when they had finished, you wouldn’t know the place. Then if the host had a revolver, he would be asked to produce it. Cash would take off his shoes and assume a starting crouch behind a sofa. Trace would fire the weapon out of an open window, and if you were new to the community and had not understood what the preparations were about, you would then realize that you were watching a hurdle race. Over the sofa went Cash, over the tables, over the fire screen and the woodbox. It was not exactly a race, since Cash ran it alone, but it was extraordinary to see this man of forty surmount so many obstacles so gracefully. There was not a piece of furniture in Shady Hill that Cash could not take in his stride. The race ended with cheers, and presently the party would break up.
John Cheever, “O Youth and Beauty!”
Hot damn, how’s that for a first paragraph?! I love the use of “tag” (the tag end of the day?); that first sentence keeps going and going, so beautifully and miraculously (I wanted to excerpt just that one sentence, but then…:); the fact that “if the host had a revolver, he would be asked to produce it”; and just the whole wonderful image of the furniture being rearranged in order to hurdle it all!
This kinda feels like the end of every Hobart party. Except, you know, minus the pistol, the morning golf and tennis and other general WASPyness, and the furniture-hurdling. Actually… there’ve been a couple instances of furniture-hurdling.Daily Cheever
Look at The New Yorker, (like NOON before them), trying to jack our swag!
The New Yorker
I love this so much I had to reblog it. (Also note the Hobart influence.)
Cover of the Aug. 27, 2012 issue. Click-through for the story behind the cover from its creator, Bruce McCall: http://nyr.kr/OsLz1q
Like religion, the game of baseball is founded on aspirations rarely met.
Gay Talese on Joe Girardi, on baseball.
Nobody wants to buy records anymore; it’s easier to steal music. How do I solve that problem? How does an artist engage an audience that can get everything for free? When I was a kid, I had a subscription to Games magazine. I liked solving problems. Does this take time away from music and art? Yes, it’s using up bandwidth, but it’s exciting to me mentally. Even if it’s an unsolvable problem.Trent Reznor (Alec Wilkinson: Trent Reznor’s Industrial Sounds : The New Yorker)
Attention is like water. It flows. It’s liquid. You create channels to divert it, and you hope that it flows the right way.” —Apollo Robbins, PickpocketThe Spectacular Thefts of Apollo Robbins, Pickpocket : The New Yorker (via tumbullr)