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Pickle Me This

May 9, 2011

The connection between reading and real estate

“If there was anything wrong with Shady Hill, anything that you could put your finger on, it was the fact that the village had no public library–no foxed copies of Pascal, smelling of cabbage; no broken sets of Dostoevski and George Eliot; no Galsworthy, even; no Barrie and no Bennett. This was the chief concern of the Village Council during Marcie’s term. The library partisans were mostly newcomers to the village; the opposition whip was Mrs. Selfredge… She took the position that a library belonged in that category of public service that might make Shady Hill attractive to a development. This was not blind prejudice. Carsen Park, the next village, had let a development inside its boundaries, with disastrous results to the people already living there. Their taxes had been doubled, their schools had been ruined. That there was any connection between reading and real estate was disputed by the partisans of the library, until a horrible murder–three murders, in fact–took place in one of the cheese-box houses in the Carsen Park development, and the library project was buried with its victims.” –John Cheever, from “The Trouble with Marcie Flint”

2 thoughts on “The connection between reading and real estate”

  1. Susan Olding says:

    Fabulous quote! Oh, I love that Cheever volume. Read it years ago and must go back to it.

    1. Kerry says:

      I am slowly making my way through it– what an extraordinary adventure. But must not move too quickly. I think most of us can only take Cheever in smal doses.

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