The Development: Nine Stories

The Development: Nine Stories

John Barth

Language: English

Pages: 167

ISBN: 0547394500

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“I find myself inclined to set down for whomever, before my memory goes kaput altogether, some account of our little community, in particular of what Margie and I consider to have been its most interesting hour: the summer of the Peeping Tom.” Something has disturbed the comfortably retired denizens of a pristine Florida-style gated community in Chesapeake Bay country. In the dawn of the new millennium and the evening of their lives, these empty nesters discover that their tidy enclave can be as colorful, shocking, and surreal as any of John Barth’s fictional locales. From the high jinks of a toga party to marital infidelities, a baffling suicide pact, and the sudden, apocalyptic destruction of the short-lived development, Barth brings mordant humor and compassion to the lives of characters we all know well. From “one of the most prodigally gifted comic novelists writing in English today” (Newsweek), The Development is John Barth at his most accessible and sympathetic best.

Herland, The Yellow Wall-Paper, and Selected Writings (Penguin Classics)

The Public Burning

Kayak Morning: Reflections on Love, Grief, and Small Boats

A Vocation and a Voice: Stories

She, Myself & I

















gated-community project of Tidewater Communities, Inc.: a couple thousand acres of former corn and soybean fields, creeper-clogged pine woods, and tidewater wetlands on Maryland's river-veined Eastern Shore. By no means "estates" in any conventional sense of that term, our well-planned and "ecologically sensitive" residential development is subdivided into neighborhoods—some additionally gated, most not—with names like Shad Run and Egret's Crest (low-rise condominiums), Blue Crab Bight

The usual, Sam supposed: like calling out something in Latin when you first step into the room ... "Latin? I don't know any damn Latin!" "Sure you do: Ave Maria? Tempus fugit? After that, and some joking around about all the crazy getups, it's just a friendly cocktail-dinner party for the next couple hours, till they wind it up with some kinky contest-games with fun prizes. Susan will enjoy it; maybe even you will. Veni, vidi, vici!" "Excuse me?" "You're excused. But go, for Christ's sake. Or

developments—residential and commercial, urban/ suburban/exurban—built by the virtual patron of Stratford's Shakespeare Prize Fund, the afore-mentioned Tidewater Communities, Inc. Indeed, inasmuch as our house purchase made it's tiny contribution to TCI's profitability and thus to the wealth of it's philanthropical CEO, we Newett-Todds feel triply linked to that problematical award: as coaches of it's candidates, as judges of their efforts, and as (minuscule, indirect) contributors to the

system—called "Chesapeake Bay" by the "English" colonizers who displaced it's aboriginal human settlers after appropriating many of their place names along with their place ... Which those newcomers then named "Maryland" ... In what their descendants would call "the USA" ... And lo, on the "Eastern Shore" of this same river-intricated Bay, near the small college town of "Stratford" in ever-less-rural "Avon County," an enterprising outfit trade-named "Tidewater Communities, Inc." developed in

annual snowbird migrations between two houses, shift their primary domicile to state-income-tax-free Florida, and escape it's sweltering summer season on cruise ships, Elderhostel tours, and such—including, for Sandy Becker especially, frequent Stratford revisits to keep in touch with her many Episcopal church and Heron Bay Club friends. Nor any such options and luxurious dilemmas for us reasonably well-off but by no means wealthy Simpsons, Bergmans, Greens, Franks, and Newett/Todds, whose

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