am 14. Juni 2000
John Cheever was the best American writer. No, I'm not just talking about of his era; I mean ever. It's true. Sure, glancing over his novels, you might find yourself checking ahead occasionally, enjoying yourself, caught up in the vivid lives of his creations, then going back and marvelling over the absolute perfection of his language, of the narrative structure, of every single itty bitty word chalk outlined around these actual lives. Then there are his shorter works.
In this book, there is not a single clunker, no filler, no by-products. John Cheever was and still remains the quintessential American short story writer. This book, in my clearly not so humble opinion, is the second finest collection of short fiction ever published (behind the still thriving William Trevor's endless Collected Stories), but I am an American and American lives, American incidents, American dreams and failures are what ultimately interest me. This is not a book of fiction but a cleanly scrubbed window into reality of place and time and day to day to day to day of people like you, people like me, people like that jerk across the street and that unattainable sweetheart down the lane. Here is America without the slam bam rhythm of our newspaper exaggeration. Here is America. Here is our soul.
am 1. Februar 2000
Like Hemingway and Carver, Cheever is among a handful of the most influential short-story writers America has ever produced, but unlike his peers, he is also one of the world's greatest storytellers. Do you know of another writer with a greater command and versatility with the narrative? It sometimes seems to me that virtually every writer out there is not writing stories at all, but anecdotes. Cheever wrote stories, great ones, and in the tradition of Chekhov and Maupaussant.
I loved "The Country Husband," "The Swimmer," "Torch Song," "The Angel of the Bridge," "The Scarlet Moving Van," "Clancy in the Towel of Babel," and "The Five-Forty-Eight." Every single story in this book is from very good to awesome; there isn't a single stinker. If you are a young writer you must read Cheever; and not just for the sweet prose style or the distinct dialogues or the impeccable construction, but because he makes the craft of writing seems so exciting and possible and noble.
am 2. Oktober 1999
I bought a used copy of this book and on the cover there is an upper middle class couple having drinks around a dining table in the drained swimming pool in their backyard. At first I didn't think much of it, but after reading the stories, I think it makes so much sense. There is always something slightly off about Cheever's stories, but it's hard to put your finger on what that is. It took me a little while to get into these stories, but after a while I came to love them. By the end of the book, the ending of the story, Another Story, knocked me breathless. The best ending to a short story I've ever read. I have also see how influential Cheever was on contemporary American short story writers, at least Tobias Wolff, Mary Robison and I think Lorrie Moore as well. This is the sort of book you want to savor , a couple stories a day. Cheever is a master of subtly shifting the mood of a piece. Out of the blue you'll suddenly realize you're in a different place from where you started.
am 29. Mai 1999
I am scared to review this book because I know nothing I can say will do justice to it. I will try to begin by saying that here Cheever sheds a brilliant light on the men and women of his time. The suburban WASPs of the 1950's, characters I knew only as the smug, stiff-necked bourgeois of pop history, are rendered here in flesh and blood and love and fear and nostalgia and a love of beauty. In Cheever's own words, "their gods are as ancient as yours or mine, whoever you may be." The result is some of the most beautiful, tenderest and most enlightening stories of any age. Let me stop here. Just read it.
am 20. August 2013
I came across John Cheever, because I'm a big reader of T.C. Boyle and eventually read somewhere that he'd studied under and been immensely inspired by Cheever. Then I bought the book, out of curiosity, but it stayed in my shelf for over a year until eventually I picked it up and started reading... the first story got me immediately locked. Brilliant.
am 4. September 1998
I used to avoid Cheever the way I avoided Updike. They're just WASPS writing about there minor drinking problems in Connecticut. I bought "The World of Apples" but never read it. Then one day I saw the story "Montraldo" in an airline magazine and read it and it changed everything. Not just my perceptions of Cheever, but everything I thought about literature, writing, short stories and life.
These stories are the kind, that if you read them carefully, expose the humanity in everyone, the desperate possibilites of humanity. These stories are the stories we need to survive life. They are not about WASPS in New England. They are about the human spirit in the modern world, they are about the necessity of the self.
Cheever, when all is said and done is a better short story writer than Carver, Beattie and just about anyone but Donald Bartheleme.
am 15. Februar 1999
I once told a friend that if I were ever shipwrecked on a desert island, this is the book I would want to have as my companion. She sent my book, with that comment to Mr. Cheever, and I received a nice letter back with the autographed book. It will remain one of my dearest treasures. Read these stories! They range from poignant, to funny, to absurd . . .("Mene, mene, . . . ").
am 7. Februar 1999
I've been reading the stories from this collection for over fifteen years and I've always found something heartbreaking, sobering, and redeeming about the people and places in Cheever's world. And I'm not even close to being a WASP. John Cheever's art is truly universal and I hope that two, three hundred years from now, his work will continue to be read and cherished.
am 30. Juni 1999
This book rocked! I had to read it for an AP English, so I expected it to be boring like everything else we read, but the themes and motifs (particularly fantasy/reality) were awesome. The twists in the plot were great, but I don't recommend reading this book before bed... it can get kind of spooky (The Hartleys, The Swimmer...). It's good reading.
am 6. März 1999
Who would have believed that among all those closet victorians living in Shady Hill lurked such passion and antics? These stories are so rewarding to read: they are well crafted tales and they are short, many only 10 or so pages long. It is impossibile to read this collection and not have 8-10 favorites.