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Though these stories deal with bright, prosperous, ostensibly happy people, a cold wind blows through them. Age, illness, financial embarrassment, sex, alcohol, death--all of these threaten his suburban Eden. (Is it himself Cheever is mocking in his ironic "The Worm in the Apple"? "Everyone in the community with wandering hands had given them both a try but they had been put off. What was the source of this constancy? Were they frightened? Were they prudish? Were they monogamous? What was at the bottom of this appearance of happiness?") Inanimate objects carry the residue of their past owners' unhappiness and cruelty ("Seaside Houses," "The Lowboy"); expatriates long for but cannot quite find their way home ("The Woman Without A Country," "Boy in Rome"); children vanish or turn out badly (too many stories to count).
All of this is conveyed in prose both graceful and tender. No one is better than Cheever at describing a character's appearance: "He was a cheerful, heavy man with a round face that looked exactly like a pudding. Everyone was glad to see him, as one is glad to see, at the end of a meal, the appearance of a bland, fragrant, and nourishing dish made of fresh eggs, nutmeg, and country cream." Given his uncanny eye (and ear) for realistic description, it's easy to forget how experimental Cheever could be. His later stories pioneered authorial intrusions in the best postmodern style, and from the beginning, he wrote what would much later be called magical realism. (Think of the sinister broadcasts in "The Enormous Radio," or the phantom love interest in "The Chimera.") A literary event at its publication and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1979, The Stories of John Cheever remains a stunning and enormously influential book. --Mary Park --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Great book. I remember some of thes stories from the early 70's.Published 10 days ago by Emmett R. Fields
John is a very fine writer, and I enjoy his style. I am thoroughly enjoying his short stories.Published 2 months ago by Ronald
The single setting in which almost all of these stories takes place -- Shady Hill and New York City -- is deceptively simple, for Cheever runs the gamut from noire to sentimental... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Erika Bottin
I have not read much of John Cheever’s writings before I read this book, but I enjoyed the tales.
You can tell that Cheever is a less than perfect individual with a devilish... Read more
just an amazing writer of the 20th century. one of the absolute best. thank you john. xoxoxPublished 2 months ago by bobby cormier
I have read many classic authors but none has made such an indelible impression on me as John Cheever. Read morePublished 3 months ago by JJB