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John Cheever: Complete Novels (Library of America) Hardcover – March 5, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1598530353 ISBN-10: 1598530356 Edition: First Edition

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Frequently Bought Together

John Cheever: Complete Novels (Library of America) + John Cheever: Collected Stories and Other Writings (Library of America, No. 188) + Raymond Carver: Collected Stories (Library of America)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America; First Edition edition (March 5, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598530356
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598530353
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.2 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Blake Bailey, editor, is the author of A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates. His biography of John Cheever will be published by Knopf simultaneously with the Library of America Cheever Edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Its also good for fans of Roth.
Clint Gannon
The book, written in two distinct points-of-view takes a surprising turn when the Nailles family meets the aptly named Hammer family.
Sam Sattler
In this handsome edition the reader will find in this960 page volume all of Cheever's published novels.
C. M Mills

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Sam Sattler on March 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Library of America series, which continues to grow at a pace of seven or eight volumes per year, devotes two of its 2009 additions to the works of John Cheever. Volume number 189 in the series, titled "John Cheever, Complete Novels," presents all five Cheever novels (although "Oh What a Paradise It Seems" would perhaps be more properly classified as a novella) in the same high quality package that fans of the series have enjoyed since its 1982 inception: lightweight, acid-free paper, sewn bindings, and boards covered in durable cloth.

John Cheever is most highly regarded as a short story writer, and writing novels is not something that he found easy. His first novel, "The Wapshot Chronicle" (1957), was almost sixteen years in the making but rewarded Cheever for his efforts by winning the National Book Award in 1958. By the time of the book's publication, Cheever was already a master short story writer and some critics of the time complained of the "episodic nature" of the novel. In "The Wapshot Chronicle," Cheever uses comic satire to introduce the Wapshots, a formerly prestigious New England family whose fortunes are in obvious decline, and creates several of the memorable characters he would use in his second novel.

"The Wapshot Scandal" (1964) continues the Wapshot saga through the eyes of its two youngest members, brothers Moses and Coverly, and through the eyes of the family's elder stateswoman, the wonderfully eccentric Cousin Honora. It takes a darker view of life than Cheever's first novel but still has some comic moments in the midst of the scandals and tragedies endured by the next Wapshot generation.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Years had passed since my interest had been aroused by the prose of John Cheever (1912-1982). All of that has changed! Earlier this year I read the splendid new literary biography of Cheever by scholar Blake Bailey. Bailey has edited the two volume Cheever set in the NAL containing his five novels, short stories and other writings.
In this handsome edition the reader will find in this960 page volume all of Cheever's published novels. Those novels are:
1 & 2:The Wapshot Chronicle and The Wapshot Scandal: These two works tell us of the Wapshot family of St. Botolph's a small Massachusetts village bidding adieu to the old world as industrialization and modern living intrude. The Wapshots are an eccentric family. Captain Lemuel is based on Cheever's father. He is a tourist boat captain while his wife Sarah enjoys clubwork and taking care of the family farm. The two sons are Moses and Coverly. We learn of their leaving home for the big city; their difficult marriages and nostalgia for their sylvan home in New England. The most memorable character is Aunt Honoria Wapshot who refuses to pay her income taxes. There are incidents of homosexualty. The work is good at its evocation of the beautiful New England countryside. Cheever uses a good deal of profanity and sex is on the mind of the characters most of the time. This will turn off some readers not appreciating this kind of writing.
Bullet Park is a dark work in which Mr. Hammer is seen in conflict with his neighbor Mr. Nailles and his family. Hammer is criminally insane! The work displays violence. It is shorter than the Wapshot books. We learn about life in the New England middle class and an array of village activities. The stories of many of the Bullet Park residents is woven into the narrative.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M. Derby VINE VOICE on September 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Cheever ranks as one of the greatest American short story writers of the twentieth century--but his novels do not quite have as high a reputation. The Library of America released both his stories and collected novels--and frankly the volume containing the stories is a much better book. But this does not mean Cheever is a bad novelist. As this collection of his novels show, Cheever was a fine and talented novelist--but his best works were done in his short stories.

The LOA edition of Cheever's novels contains five books of varying quality. "The Wapshot Chronicle" is a solid novel about a declining New England patrician family. While the general plot is not memorable, Cheever's wonderful craftsmanship shines and he includes some funny scenes and solid characters. The sequel--"The Wapshot Scandal"--is a bit darker and is a solid work but it's a weaker book.

While Cheever tackles the American suburbs in "Bullet Park," readers of his stories will find this novel much darker. Despite being trashed when it was first released, "Bullet Park" holds up well and serves as a turning point as Cheever's life and works went in different directions. This was followed by "Falconer" which is generally considered one of Cheever's finer works. This novel focuses on love and redemption through the story of a man imprisoned for murdering his brother. There are a number of themes that readers of Cheever will quickly recognize--homosexuality, love, siblings, married relationships.

"Oh What a Paradise It Seems" is not quite a short story or a novel--while it is less than 100 pages, it was published by itself. It's fair to call this work a novella.
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