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Bullet Park Paperback – January 15, 1992
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"Cheever's deepest, most challenging book. It has the tone of a summing-up and the tension of a vision." —The New York Times
"A master American storyteller." —Time
"In a class by itself, not only among Cheever's work but among all the novels I know." —Joseph Heller
"John Cheever's prose is always a pleasure to read because it is both graceful and governed." —Chicago Tribune
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Top Customer Reviews
Tony's privileged status as an only child and a middle class Baby Boomer has bred an adolescence painful both to himself and to his parents, and he still continues to teeter on the brink of knuckleheadedness. With the insight of a child psychologist and the wisdom of an embattled father, Cheever recounts Tony's various phases: his addiction to television, his threat against his French teacher, his strange sudden interest in poetry, the brash older woman he invites to his parents' house for lunch, and especially his mysterious depression which confines him to bed for weeks and requires the healing power of a "swami" whose idea of therapy is to repeat mantras.
One day a man named Paul Hammer and his wife Marietta move into Bullet Park and befriend the Nailleses.Read more ›
BULLET PARK represents this conflict in allegorical terms, and now I can see that the two neighbors and antagonists, Nailles and Hammer, form two halves of the same person. Well, that's a crude way of putting it, but at any rate reading back into the biography they perhaps represent two of Cheever's warring personalities, and in their conflict over the future of Tony Nailles, the appealing teenage son, they are going to war themselves. At stake is nothing less than the future of American literature.
I always thought this would have been a good movie--back in the day I wrote Cheever a note asking him to make sure that Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas would play Hammer and Nailles in the film version. He was polite but non-committal. And I don't know who would be good among today's actors. I picked Lancaster and Douglas because those two, who of course made many pictures together, gave off the almost untangible sensation of somehow having been made for each other, like the way Plato wrote that we are all looking for the other half of the soul we were once part of. Thus even when they were playing antagonists, Lancaster and Douglas still seemed to be seeking each other out, not in an erotic way especially, but in a search for meaning that would never end.
And this was extremely entertaining and well written. I enjoyed being able to define the characters through their actions (not through several paragraphs of interspection) although classifying them is not as clear cut. There are elements involved with both Hammer and Nailles that apply to the "every man".
The "villian" is the one who attempts to "save" America, and the "hero" unknowingly stops the horrific action that would have destroyed his family. The layers in this novel pile on each other, but the density is masked within the constant forward motion of the plot. Great book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nothing ever seems quite to happen in the idyllic town of Bullet Park: women almost fall into affairs or almost get ravished by lecherous neighbors, and a murder almost happens. Read morePublished 3 months ago by M. Buzalka
The first two words that come to mind are,"boring" and "nonsense"....they are also the third and fourth,fifth and sixth,etc..... Read morePublished 5 months ago by David
Bullet Park; a commuter suburb to New York; home to Elliot Nailles and family and soon to be home to Paul Hammer, a man with a martinet wife and a thing about yellow rooms. Read morePublished 6 months ago by An admirer of Saul
What happens when the middle class, American Dream is not enough? Bullet Park is a familiar, suburb of the late 20th century. Read morePublished 11 months ago by David Denio
It's a great book and Cheever a great writer. Sometimes the action declines and the details are too many, but anyway, everyone should read it. Te finale is amazing.Published 11 months ago by Verónica Paula Valdi
Cheever always paints a vivid picture of eccentric people. His characters Nailles and Hammer are realistic and bizarre, and the son can't help but be temporarily depressed.Published 23 months ago by pete miller
John Cheever's Bullet Park is a magical mystery tour that transports the reader back to the world of suburban New York in the Sixties. Read morePublished on December 5, 2013 by caraxida
A searing send-off of suburban life outside of New York in the late 1950s-60s. Poignant, but not overly a downer, as it does have its moments of levity. "... Read morePublished on December 12, 2012 by jimcab
Cheever slowly and deliberately fills out the image of a suburban town, by setting character vignettes and then delving deeply into descriptive personal details. Read morePublished on October 5, 2012 by fogcutter