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The Journals of John Cheever (Vintage International) [Kindle Edition]

John Cheever , Robert Gottlieb
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.95
Kindle Price: $11.84
You Save: $6.11 (34%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

In these journals, the experiences of one of the most renowned twentieth-century American writers come to life with fascinating, wholly revealing detail.John Cheever's journals provide peerless insights into the creation of his novels and stories. But they are equally the record of a complex, often dark, always closely observed inner world. No American writer of comparable stature has left such an unreservedly revealing and moving account of himself: his family life, his literary life, and his emotional life. The final word from one of modern America's great writers, The Journals of John Cheever provides a powerful and beautiful capstone to a towering oeuvre.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews


“A treasure-trove of riches. . . . His particular gifts . . . place the journals among the very best of the form.” —Mary Gordon, The New York Times Book Review“John Cheever is an enchanted realist, and his voice . . . is as rich and distinctive as any of the leading voices of postwar American literature.” —Philip Roth“A provocative introduction to the mind and craft of an important American author.” —The Boston Globe“A stunning itinerary of a lost man intermittently saved by a change of wind or a moment of love... You won't find a more intimate self-portrait of a writer.” —Entertainment Weekly

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

John Cheever was born in 1912. He is the author of seven collections of stories and five novels. He won the National Book Award for The Wapshot Chronicle, and the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize for The Stories of John Cheever. He received the Howells Medal for Fiction and the National Medal for Literature. He died in 1982.

Product Details

  • File Size: 946 KB
  • Print Length: 418 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B0028GAA86
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (October 5, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004IK8PKK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #340,759 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Psalms for the Modern Man July 27, 2009
I devour published journals, diaries, notebooks, sketchbooks and even letter collections like no other category in literature. When they're good and not merely dull notation - "Supped at 7:30 and went to bed early," BLAH! - there's nothing quite like them. To me, they're the hidden ground of consciousness, the unpretentious flashpoint of self-understanding and creation. Of the (by this time) hundreds I've read, Cheever's journals lead the pack. For sheer honesty, beauty of perception and phrase, he transcends the genre.

John Updike wrote a review of the book complaining that there wasn't enough context, no footnotes to make sense of the entries. Respectable as he is, Updike got it wrong. No context is needed, because from beginning to end, Cheever maintains a singular perspective, a transparent love of the world in all its complexity that illuminates even the murkist turn of events. He called it the "CAFARDE," that downward-spiraling sense we sometimes get of the trap, the uselessness of it all. The home we can ill-afford and the relationship that requires more giving than receiving. And as much as he dodges it, the big let-down is STILL a thing of beauty, an invitation to be awed by life.

It's the small, gritty, real things that he loves the most and notes with an obsessive joy.

Cheever was a husband, father, a veteran, thinker, artist, bisexual, homeowner, traveler, charmer and comedian. All of this comes through in prose as light and essential as thought itself. If you are at all interested in the cartography of another person's soul, this will become an essential text for you, as it has for me.

I never met John Cheever in person, but it hardly matters.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars throughways and bridges.. November 16, 2002
Cheever says "I am fifty-four, but I still think myself too suffer nightmares about throughways and bridges." Daily peril is ever close at hand in the self-abusive pain and duty of the observed life of a 20th century master of English prose. The only peril in reading this book is a broken heart. I would stand anywhere and say there are paragraphs in these journals that rival in beauty and perfection any other in English literature you may produce. Cheever can't help it; this kind of genius is inevitable. What does it matter that misery formed a life? The pages written in Italy in the late '50s particularly, nurse a kind of transparent abiding of deep misery - seeking, arranging, soldiering it, all the while writing, fortunately. However alcohol and interior splits may have crippled aspects of Cheever's career, nothing but glory shadows his paragraphs of light! The book is more like an autobiographical duel in the form of a novel, Cheever's self-reaching so raw, and so moving his conclusions. Barely able to escape the intense life of the mind, Cheever's art threatens confessional literature by refusing to confess. He keeps his writer's mind, and makes the rest serve. As a result, the book full of a beauty that will never disappear. It's a worthwhile idea to get a copy just to read the paragraph written in 1981, after taking the dogs walking deep into the rainy woods, returning & listening to Bach's Concerto for Two Violins on headphones, while the wet and muddy dogs dry on the porch. It's an amazing book by a peerless writer.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars harrowing reading March 12, 2000
By A Customer
I am a big Cheever fan and it took me about a month at 10-12 pages a night to finish this book. Before buying this book, you should consider if you want to sit through 395 pages of drink, depression, marital strife, adultery, hypocrisy (Cheever's), and bisexuality; all set in a prose that is often beautiful and sometimes fragmentary. Please be forewarned, this is a journal, not a narrative, and Cheever is not at all concerned about clarity. PS: I was struck by how much he admired Hemingway. "I think of Hemingway, what we remember of his work is not so much the color of the sky as it is the absolute taste of loneliness."
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough slogging amply rewarded over and over December 15, 2003
By A Customer
Read these journals and you will meet this man. Not just the sardonic detached observer of the cocktail party set. Yes, the journals verify that he is that. And not just the gentle introspective genius who pours his heart out to the labradors as he empties his nth glass of gin sitting on the porch as a warm summer night drifts to an end. (is that too). But the man who, when a grand and ancient 3 and a half foot snapping turtle dares trample his flower bed, pumps 10 shotgun rounds unceremoniously into its head. Ten. (and remember, this is in Westchester). A man who basked in his celebrity and yet felt insecure around people of learning (he was high school dropout). A man who loved his wife as deeply as he resented marriage (ok, that's most of us - but he captures it). Some slogging, no doubt. But the gems make it overwhelmingly worthwhile. To read it is not just research, but a prose adventure into a soul.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Journals of John Cheever: A Mini-Review May 10, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The sheer, physical elegance of John Cheever's stories, and novels, is equally on display in his journals. The journals, of course, is a more intimate look into the inner life of a fine writer, with all of Cheever's craftsmanship on display. The journals give you a full picture of Cheever's spirit and mind, in the pure, and eloquent language Cheever worked hard at.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Finding the Right Words
John Cheever left personal journals documenting thirty-five years of his life, and approaching - in the estimate of longtime friend and editor, Robert Gottlieb - something like... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Il'ja Rákoš
5.0 out of 5 stars Portrait of the Artist
If you approach this book looking for yet another sad example of a self-destructive, sexually repressed, narcissistic alcoholic writer whose limitations negatively affect those who... Read more
Published 5 months ago by PBH
5.0 out of 5 stars be true to yourself, don't be ashame
I have not read any of John Cheever’s books, but read in one of those New York Time profiles by an author that this book changed his life. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Dr. Wilson Trivino
4.0 out of 5 stars A Spiritual View of Life
There is considerable material on Cheever's almost spiritual love of nature: sunsets, meadows, soft breezes; and not very much on daily activities.
Published 13 months ago by Richard Lottridge
5.0 out of 5 stars Jarring
I had never even read any of John Cheever's work. These journals are remarkable. They are real, intimate, and at times so personal they put me on the edge of anxiety for days. Read more
Published on July 3, 2008 by Lola Falana
4.0 out of 5 stars Had no Idea
This book effected me more than I wanted. It was depressing in many ways, mostly because life just seemed to wash over Mr. Cheever. Read more
Published on July 12, 2005 by Lola
3.0 out of 5 stars Mildly interesting but tedious
You can see how his writing style improved, his voice became clearer as he aged. Yet it's tedious. Over and over you read about gin, whiskey, the weather, birds, his terrible... Read more
Published on September 13, 2003
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