Don’t Get Divorced Like This
John Cheever has a knack for making a serious subject (e.g. life in prison, divorce) and making a humorous situation out of it.
I shared one excerpt from Falconer with you last week–a situation in which Farragut is writing his girlfriend from prison. I find the example in today’s post even funnier, again, in a dry kind of way.
This excerpt is a flashback late in the novel before Farragut is in prison. Eben, Farragut’s punk brother, and his wife are arguing.
“I’m leaving,” she sobbed. “I’m leaving. I don’t have to listen to you anymore.”
“Oh, shut up,” Eben shouted. “Shut up. Shut up. You’ve been leaving me weekly or oftener for as long as I can remember. You started leaving me before you asked me to marry you. My God! Unless you rent space in a warehouse, there isn’t a place in the county with enough room for your clothes. You’re about as portable as the Metropolitan Opera Company’s production of Turandot. Just to get your crap out of here would keep the moving men busy for weeks. You have hundreds of dresses, hats, fur coats, and shoes. I have to hang my clothes in the laundry. And then there’s your piano and your grandfather’s crappy library and that five hundred pound bust of Homer…”
“I’m leaving,” she sobbed. “I’m leaving.”
No one talks like that. “You’re about as portable as the Metropolitan Opera Company’s production of Turandot.” And that’s what makes it funny to me.
Again, Cheever reminds me a lot of Joseph Heller. Though painfully graphic at times, Falconer is a pretty good book. My review is coming on Monday.
Anyone interested in reading Falconer?