Tuesday, January 12, 2010

On " Of Love: A Testimony" by John Cheever (7109 words) *****

About the same time that I first read The Stories of John Cheever, I read also his uncollected stories, a collection that came out about that time. Most of the stories were gathered from Cheever's early years, when he was trying to write in the manner of social realists. The stories weren't very good or interesting--passable, sure, but not marked by the kind of humor and pathos that his later work, set amid the suburbs of the Northeast, would achieve. Why this story didn't make it into that collection--or if it did, why I don't remember--I can't make sense of. I also don't know what Cheever left it out of his own selection. It's magnificent.

It's an old motif--the love triangle. Morgan is a young man newly arrived in the city (Boston, I believe), and through his friend Sears he meets a woman named Julia. Julia was once Sears's girlfriend, but now she is Morgan's, except Sears keeps hanging around. Someone's heart is going to get broken--and it might be yours. Read the story here at Five Chapters.

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