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We read Cheever not because we love stories about the suburbs, but because Cheever shows us that a wild imagination can’t be bound even by the suburbs. We enjoy the quality of observation, the dialogue, the air-tight construction (and what he teaches us about form both in every example and over the course of the collection), but we read him for those moments when his stories take wing to escape cliche, banality, and the mundane.

A few more thoughts on Cheever:
http://alisonkinney.com/2014/07/01/jo...

Thanks!

مشاهده لینک اصلی
August 22, 2015

As predicted (see earlier two posts, below), it took me months to finish this masterpiece. To reiterate earlier comments, I read from front to back as well as back to front. Not the best idea, it turns out, because the strongest stories are not in the middle. Im adding this note for two reasons:

First, I googled the one story in sixty-one that I didnt think worked, and I found a wonderful New Yorker piece by Brad Leithauser about Cheevers style and turn of phrase. I was a drama major and dropped out of all the lit classes I started when I was in school because the teachers seemed fixated on writers personal lives which I thought was nobodys business. Maybe I had some bad teachers. I shouldnt say where because its a renowned school (Bennington), but if Mr. Leithauser had been there, I would have taken his course. Perhaps some other readers will be interested in his article.

Second, in addition to finishing Cheevers opus, I finally gave in and bought a Kindle. I hate it. And knowing that I feel that way makes me even more appreciative of the big fat orange Cheever book I own. When I finished it, I kissed it long and hard before I put it up on my shelf. And the fact that I can glance up at it—its lying sideways because Ive run out of space—and see Mr. Cheevers name in big white letters against a two-toned amber background gives me comfort. Ive heard a lot of things about Cheever (my mother knew him) that make me pretty sure he wasnt always fun (yikes, none of my business! I apologize), but I am so happy to have him physically on my shelf. He is now a permanent member of my library family. Kindle cant come close to giving that kind of pleasure.

Feb. 18, 2015
An update to the earlier quasi-review (see below). I still havent finished this book, and Im in no rush to. Im reading from front to back and back to front, so when I finish, Ill be somewhere in the middle of the book--which, for inarticulate reasons, feels right. The stories flay and slay me, so one story a day, or every few days, is all I can handle.

Last night I went to an Authors Guild symposium where one of the panelists described reading as @an intimate social connection--between a reader and a writer.@ I was struck by the word @social.@ Intimate, yes, but social? I certainly dont want John Cheever in the room while Im reading, and I dont really want to meet him. But, yes, I feel intimately connected and safe in that connection because it is private, in my mind.

Im curious: do other people feel an intimate social connection with the writer of a book theyre reading? And if so, what does that mean to them? Is there more that they want from the writer than the words and story in the book, privately? Id love responses to this post. Im really curious.

Jan. 5, 2015
I lied. I havent finished reading this, but Im just going to cut to the chase and give it five stars. The stories in this 693-page opus appear in the chronological order Cheever wrote them. I started reading from the front, then began reading from the back.

I borrowed my copy of the book from the library, and since most of what Ive read leaves me almost catatonic from awe and in need of inert time on my back on the couch in order to process, there is no way Im going to finish this book in the two weeks allotted by the library. So in order to read this book in the time it demands, Im going to have to buy it.

Buying books scares me these days. Heres why:


Nevertheless, I must risk it. Five stars. The guy was a master.


مشاهده لینک اصلی
This author would be in my top twenty list of all time masters of the short story....I like a lot of @uncool@ authors like Cheever, Hawthorne, Carver....these are authors I read decade in, decade out, and keep coming away with new experiences, thoughts, the whole palimpsestic layering which is life....so many books and authors achieve a fashionable moment...but I think its obviously timeliness AND timelessness that have to be achieved to really merit that overused term @masterpiece@...or whatever your favorite term of supreme approbation is, lol...the stories in here are various and the literary aims and ends are various but the polish is about consistent...I know a lot of people probably see @his ilk@ as a cause of a lot of the really awful workshop type fiction that ended up dominating the magazine scene in the 70s and 80s, but he has a mastery and a subtletly and negative capability...things almost always missing from the McRelationship workshop short fiction....its true hes rather obssessed with human vulnerability...thats probably the major theme in everything he ever wrote...but I like that theme...I like empathy...and hes one of the most empathic...but not in any bullshit condescending sort of way...hes able to be turn Chekhovian and cold when he needs to be...in that sense hes like an S&M dom, and we are his clients lol...Cheever Dungeon...yeah thats it...thats the ticket...

مشاهده لینک اصلی
I have been reading the short stories now for a long time. Im not finished yet but sometime I will because they are so good. The stories are placed in New England or New York. There doesnt happen much in the stories on first sight ( I mean not a lot of action) but they are focused on the relations between people. Characterisation, conversation, exploring the relation between people... thats what its all about. And Cheever is a master in it.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Dear Mr. Cheever,

While it is unfair 0f me t0 put y0ur b00k 0n my @read@ shelf when in fact I 0nly read ab0ut 400 0ut 0f 693 pages, I feel the time has c0me f0r us t0 part.

Y0u are n0t f0r me, Mr. Cheever, th0ugh I tried. Y0u never break 0pen the hearts 0f y0ur characters, which leaves me irritable and half-satisfied. I keep waiting t0 turn the page 0n s0mething m0ment0us, s0mething that will cause my little spirit t0 rise 0r sink with dreadful, unst0ppable m0ti0n.

At best, Mr. Cheever, y0u caused my spirit t0 rustle in its nest, and that is n0t en0ugh f0r me. I say g00d day t0 y0u, sir.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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