As for the Brioches

Clarence Brown

  • Out of Egypt by André Aciman
    Farrar, Straus, 302 pp, $23.00, January 1995, ISBN 0 374 22833 7

The troopship carrying me and several thoes and other soldiers across the wintry North Atlantic in 1952 was named the General Floyd W. Cagebottom or something, and the 11-day nightmare aboard it has always salved my bad conscience for heading to Europe rather than Korea, the destination for the overwhelming majority of my fellow basic trainees. I was on the bottom canvas bunk in a tier of four. My three spatial superiors were as seasick as I was, but it was I who had to endure the splash of vomitus on the deck beside my face. The latrine was clogged and awash in urine and various forms of buoyant egesta. The Coca Cola and graham crackers on which I subsisted kept me from losing more than the twenty pounds or so I got shot of on the way to Bremerhaven.

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