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Water Music

Allon White

2 September 1982
Oh what a paradise it seems 
by John Cheever.
Cape, 99 pp., £5.50, July 1982, 0 224 02930 4
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Collected Short Stories 
by John Cheever.
Penguin, 704 pp., £4.95, March 1982, 0 14 005575 4
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So long a Letter 
by Mariama Bâ, translated by Modupé Bodé-Thomas.
Virago, £5.50, August 1982, 0 86068 295 1
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A joke goes a long way in the country 
by Alannah Hopkin.
Hamish Hamilton, 157 pp., £7.95, July 1982, 0 241 10798 9
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... was by the bars of Falconer jail. Virago have just published a first novel by a Senegalese woman, Mariama Bâ. So Long a Letter has qualities which put Cheever’s playful fictions into perspective. It reminds me of Elizabeth Smart’s By Grand Central Station: this, too, is an intense elegy of loss and rejection. It has the same grief, the same ...

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