Showing posts from August, 2017

Don't look back

Maybe 30 years ago I read a John Cheever story called "The Lowboy."  In it a typical middle-aged Cheever first-person narrator--well-spoken, flawed--is bequeathed an antique side-table long-coveted by his younger brother.  The brother badgers, recriminates and emotionally blackmails the narrator until he agrees to let him have the thing, but there is an accident while transporting it and the younger brother becomes apoplectic. He even accuses the narrator of deliberately sabotaging the table, which is damaged but repairable. 
In the final paragraphs of the story, the narrator imagines his brother painstakingly recreating the original setting for the lowboy in his home. No doubt, he muses, his brother will have tried to replicate the cut-glass vase that used to sit on the lowboy.  He'll have gone to great lengths to find an identical carpet on which to place it.  And suddenly the narrator finds himself recalling the petty, bickering, unpleasant reality of the family that u…