The New York Cuckoos


Our Story of the Week is a 1920s story from the writer John Lee Langton.

John turned to writing later in life, first taking a creative writing evening course at a local college, and then following up a couple of years later with the prestigious Diploma in Creative writing from Kellogg College, the graduate college of The University of Oxford.

For us, Langton is one of the true masters of the short story. Instantly evocative of a time and place, his stories explore original themes and setting, and are a veritable pick and mix of genres.

In The New York Cuckoos, Langton infiltrates The Great Gatsby for a book adventure to remember.


The mournful wail of the cop sirens is drawing ever closer, but I feel an explanation is necessary.

From the first time I read the book, I was not satisfied with their account of the accident. I was inclined to believe a collusion had been perpetrated on the reader. A collusion in which Fitzgerald had taken part.

Nick’s portrayal of himself as an innocent recipient of unwanted confidences; his position as an unwitting observer of a booze-fuelled rich, but empty lifestyle, did not ring true, no matter how many times I read the book or studied its notes.

So, dressed in the fashion of the day and armed with a copy of the book, I entered the plot. Where else to enter it but at one of the parties? After all you didn’t need to be invited; you just went there.

I decided to join that one party where Nick arrives as a stranger. I could then introduce myself and strike up a friendship around my interest of dealing in bonds. With my knowledge of that roaring decade’s Wall Street, we would soon be rich.Read more…