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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.
No one knew better than Cheever the darkness that hides behind the costume of a perfectly manicured lawn.Published 11 days ago by Steve
I thoroughly enjoyed these stories. I had seen the movie 'The Swimmer' when I was quite young and it stayed in my memory as a very surreal experience. Read morePublished 26 days ago by Heidi
One of my favorite short story writers. I got a copy when this was first released but then couldn't find it more recently. So I picked up another copy on Amazon.Published 1 month ago by Totally unbiased reviewer
I have Cheever's ''short stories'' book after seeing the film again after decades, just to read Swimmer, and read 2 more to see if he always leaves people dangling... Read morePublished 2 months ago by MAMZELLLE
Upper class suburbia voyeurism in a snarky tone, and bonus! ..,excellent word choices! A lot of stories, hits and misses, but even the misses are entertaining.Published 3 months ago by mommaval
This Gemini writer had a surprising and insightful prose style. Cheever delights the mind while--at the same time--leaving the soul in a state of welcomed conundrum.Published 4 months ago by Ashley Boswell