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I Watched the Naked Women Walk Out of the Sea

No, it’s not an admission to voyeurism. It’s a line from one of John Cheever’s short stories, “Goodbye, My Brother.” Cheever, whose birth centennial we celebrate this year, said that he wrote that line, and then built a story around it. Oh, did I mention that it’s the final line in the story?

John Cheever was a soldier in the Second World War. The story goes that he was in an infantry unit that went ashore on D-Day. Most of his company was killed. Cheever was pulled out of that unit before D-Day by an officer who knew of his work and thought the Army could use a good writer on the propaganda team. Lucky for John; lucky for us.

Allan Gurganus studied with Cheever at the Iowa Workshops. Gurganus gives us this remembrance of his mentor from the New York Review of Books. If you haven’t read much Cheever, I commend his work to you.  I have a copy of his collected stories beside my bed and am savoring a story each night before I drift off.

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