John Cheever: 100 years

It was George Kelly who reminded me with THIS post on his blog today. I’m joining the chorus (of 2) with my own cover and comment.

The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever, preface by John Cheever, Alfred A. Knopf – A Borzoi Book, first published October 1978

This is a collection of Cheever’s stories, 61 of them, all of which had previously appeared, most of them in The New Yorker Magazine, some in Playboy, Esquire or The Saturday Evening Post. I’ve read this book about one and a half times, once all the way through over the period of a couple months, again dipping back to re-read my favorites or stories I didn’t recall at all or someone, somewhere had mentioned that I wanted to re-experience.

I don’t recall a single bad one among all these, and certainly Cheever is worth reading in short or long form.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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14 Responses to John Cheever: 100 years

  1. Don’t think I’ve read any Cheever. Bows his head in shame.

  2. And a good Memorial Day to yoou as well. The Indy 500 just finished and that may be the only race I watch. NASCAR got a little boring when Johnson won five championships in a row. I fell off the wagon then, though I hadn’t been a regular watcher in years, and don’t see myself coming back.

    There is San Antonio against Oklahoma City tonight.

  3. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Rick, as mentioned to George I am reading the Cheever stories currently. The Library of America has the 61 stories you read plus 7 from his first collection and another 7 previously uncollected early stories, as well as some short non-fiction pieces.

  4. Todd Mason says:

    Shall have to check to see if the LOA volume has “Oh, What a Paradise It Seems,” published as a chapbook from his corporate houses after Cheever’s death.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Todd, the Complete Novels volume does indeed have that title.

  6. Todd Mason says:

    So I see, over at George’s post. A little joke on LOA’s part, as that is more like a novelet, not even a novella’s-length story (if a fine one).

  7. Todd Mason says:

    That DC punk band Jawbox named their first released song recording for BULLET PARK drew my attention, and as they were and remain after breakup my favorite punk band, there’s that little bit of extra glow about Cheever atop his own work (and his daughter’s). BTW, Rick, the Saturday Music Club for yesterday is both relatively rare (in part) jazz and relatively brief…

  8. I’ve read just a touch of Cheever. I”m afraid I didn’t enjoy the experience

  9. Cheever had plenty of demons, Charles. Some of his stories deal with unpleasant subjects. But, in the wide range of his stories, I’m sure you’d find one or two that would make you sit up and say, “Wow!”

  10. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I read “The Enormous Radio” today and it was not what I was expecting. Great stuff.

  11. Richard says:

    In the preface to this volume, Cheever says some “embarrassingly immature” early stories were left out. So apparently he wanted it that way.

    Charles – though I have read a few Cheever stories that might have been so-so, I don’t recall any that were downright bad. Most of the things in this collection are quite good. I suspect over all Cheever defeats Sturgeon’s Law with his short fiction.

  12. Pulitzer Reader says:

    Reading his “Stories” now and so far haven’t found one I didn’t like. I’m struck by his focus on class and various urban serving occupations, such as doorman, elevator operator, etc. Maybe they’re coming later in the book but I expected more about Westchester County.

  13. Page Larkin says:

    I adore John Cheever – Have and love The Big Red Book – defy anyone not to marvel at
    “The Swimmer”

  14. Richard says:

    Pulitzer Reader, Page – thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, always nice! There are some Westchester County locales among the stories, but many of the stories focus on the dilemmas of the everyman in some way, regardless of location or class. Yes, “The Swimmer” is a really good one.

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