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The Journals of John Cheever (Vintage International) Paperback – December 9, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage International
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (December 9, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307387259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307387257
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #888,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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

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.

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Customer Reviews

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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By D. Bateman on July 27, 2009
Format: Paperback
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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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By M. szymanski on 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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By PBH on June 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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 attempt to love him, you will not be disappointed. John Cheever was all those things and more. In these brutally honest journals, we are presented with his internal dialogue and an unflinching litany of his human failings, real and perceived, over a span of decades. If you persevere despite the angst, and often, the writer's obtusity, which can make for heavy reading, you again will not be disappointed. The beautiful prose writing and his descriptions of the natural world permeate piercing insights into the flawed human condition and lift this work as well as his other works into the realm of art. Whether the end product of this art offsets the misery and self loathing he felt and inflicted is a topic for another review.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard Lottridge on October 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is considerable material on Cheever's almost spiritual love of nature: sunsets, meadows, soft breezes; and not very much on daily activities.
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