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A River in Egypt by David Means

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In his masterful story ‘A River in Egypt’, David Means paints a portrait of a moment. Cavanaugh and his young son are suspended; trapped in what a nurse calls ‘the sweat chamber’, where the boy will be tested for cystic fibrosis.

Cavanaugh has brought distractions – spasmodic action figures, malformed toy trucks – but they do little to alter the frustration of the sick child screaming, or to alleviate the anxiety of the time spent waiting for ‘some exactitude in the form of a diagnosis’.

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