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The Stories of John Cheever (1978)

de John Cheever

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3,375343,848 (4.18)129
"When The Stories of John Cheever was originally published, it became an immediate national bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize. In the years since, it has become a classic. Vintage Books is proud to reintroduce this magnificent collection. Here are sixty-one stories that chronicle the lives of what has been called "the greatest generation." From the early wonder and disillusionment of city life in "The Enormous Radio" to the surprising discoveries and common mysteries of suburbia in "The Housebreaker of Shady Hill" and "The Swimmer," Cheever tells us everything we need to know about "the pain and sweetness of life."--Publisher's description.… (mais)
  1. 10
    Love on a Dark Street de Irwin Shaw (bluepiano)
    bluepiano: More well-written stories of the same sort from the same period and mileu. Martinis, unfiltered cigarettes, camel-hair overcoats, suburban malaise.
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I only checked out this book so I could read the story "The Swimmer," that they made into a movie, starring Burt Lancaster, in 1968. I skipped several of the stories towards the end. All I can think is that John Cheever hung around some of the creepiest humans, because that's who people his stories. He's extremely misogynistic, and he must have had some Kind of real strong connection in the publishing business, because he is a mediocre author. Here's some samplings of his strange wordings:

He dressed his deaf wife in salt bags and potato sacks. He was miserly. He was bitter.

Red-headed, deep-breasted, slender, and indolent, she seemed to belong to a different species

He heard people say that she was beautiful and stupid.

She was queer, Chester thought, she was as queer as the Chinese language.

with their thrift-shop minks and their ash-can fur pieces, their alligator shoes and their snotty ways with doormen and with the cashiers in supermarkets, their gold jewelry and their dregs of Je Reviens and Chanel.

She was a pretty woman with that striking pallor you so often find in nymphomaniacs

Perhaps she was frigid—but hardly, with that pallor.

When she lost her fat she became very pretty and quite fast. She smoked and drank and probably fornicated and the abyss that opens up before a pretty and an intemperate young woman is unfathomable.


His chair creaked, and by bulging his muscles a little he made his garters, braces, and shoes all sound.

It got so bad that we had to give him the works. We asked him up to Pete Fenton’s room for a cup of cocoa, roughed him up, threw his clothes out the window, painted his rear end with iodine, and stuck his head in a pail of water until he damned near drowned

It was his life, his boat, and, like every other man, he was made to be the father of thousands,

When he finally did marry, he picked a woman much younger than he—a sweet-tempered girl with red hair and green eyes. She sometimes called him Daddy.

The secretary was a hard-faced blonde, and the businesswoman was herself a figure of such astonishing unsavoriness—you might say evil—that no one spoke to her, not even the waiters. Her hair was dyed black, her eyes were made up to look like the eyes of a viper, her voice was guttural, and whatever her business was, it had stripped her of any appeal as a human being.

I have never seen such a relationship as that between Brimmer and the businesswoman that was not based on bitterness, irresolution, and cowardice—the very opposites of love—and any such indulgence on my part would, I was sure, turn my hair white in a moment, destroy the pigmentation in my eyes, incline me to simper, and leave a hairy tail coiled in my pants.


I am a native and I was wearing buckskin jump boots, chino pants cut so tight that my sexual organs were discernible, and a rayon-acetate pajama top printed with representations of the Pinta, the Niña, and the Santa María in full sail.

Update: I read a bit of Cheever's biography, and found out that he was bisexual, but was always hiding it. That he had a loathing of that side of him. So it makes more sense now, why all his stories show such loathsome sides to his characters: it was his dark mirror. ( )
  burritapal | Oct 23, 2022 |
Quite good. ( )
  k6gst | Feb 21, 2022 |
I can not give this collection higher praise. John Cheever is often taught in creative writing classes--his famous 1-page story "Reunion" a potent example of concise storytelling. Also well known are "The Enormous Radio" and "The Swimmer."

This collection includes those, and more. Some of the best finds are "Goodbye, My Brother," "Torch Song," "The Season of Divorce," "The Children," "Montraldo," and "The Fourth Alarm."

There are also failures in this collection, but Cheever writes with such sincerity that one never doubts his intentions. There is a kind of modesty to Cheever's writing--an assurance that he is only seeking those timeless human moments--that one easily forgives his more overwrought constructions. ( )
  ekerstein | Sep 29, 2021 |
One of the masters of the short story. His chronicles of life in upscale suburbia are shattering, elegant, and still ring true. ( )
  Paperpuss | Feb 25, 2019 |
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So look closely at his pages, no matter if you’re studying my tattered version, or if you have a clean copy in hand. Look at the perspectives—cockeyed but exacting. Look at the characters—messy and mesmerizing. Look at the sentences— they’re full of scribbled stars.
 
...There are colder, less hospitable places, of course. The tricks memory plays are usually flattering. But one of the surprises to be found in The Stories of John Cheever is that the stories are almost always better than people remember. Never before has it been possible to see so much of his short work so steadily and so whole. Never before has the received notion of a "typical" Cheever story—a satire on suburbia, based on fading Protestant morality —seemed further from the more complex and entertaining truth. This massive retrospective of 61 stories (selected by Cheever) is not only splendid from beginning to end paper; it charts one of the most important bodies of work in contemporary letters...
adicionado por amorabunda | editarTime Magazine, Paul Gray (Oct 16, 1978)
 
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Das grauenvolle Radio: Jim und Irene Westcott schienen jenen zufriedenstellenden Durchschnitt von Einkommen, Strebsamkeit und Ansehen erreicht zu haben, der in den Mitteilungsblättern ehemaliger Collegestudenten statistisch errechnet wird.
Der Schwimmer: Es war einer jener Sonntage im Hochsommer, an denen alle Leute herumsitzen und sagen: "Ich hab gestern abend zuviel getrunken."
Der Brigadekommandeur und die Golf-Witwe: Ich möchte weiss Gott nicht zu den Schriftstellern gehören, die jeden Morgen mit dem Ausruf beginnen: "O Gogol, o Tschechow, o Thackeray und Dickens, was hättet ihr nur zu einem Atombunker gesagt, der sich hinter vier Gipsenten, einem Vogelbad und einer Gruppe von drei Zwergen mit langen Bärten und roten Zipfelmützen aus dem Boden erhebt?"
Der Einbrecher von Shady Hill: Ich heisse Johnnie Hake.
O Jugend, o Schönheit: Wenn eine jener langen, zahlreichen Samstagabendpartys in Shady Hill sich dem Ende zuneigte, wenn alle, die am nächsten Morgen Golf oder Tennis spielen wollten, schon vor Stunden nach Hause gegangen waren und die zehn oder zwölf Zurückgebliebenen ausserstande zu sein schienen, Schluss zu machen, obwohl Gin und Whiskey bereits zur Neige gingen und hier und da eine Ehefrau, die nur noch bis zum Aufbruch ihres Mannes durchhalten wollte, dazu übergegangen war, Milch zu trinken; wenn alles das Zeitgefühl abhanden gekommen war und ...
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"When The Stories of John Cheever was originally published, it became an immediate national bestseller and won the Pulitzer Prize. In the years since, it has become a classic. Vintage Books is proud to reintroduce this magnificent collection. Here are sixty-one stories that chronicle the lives of what has been called "the greatest generation." From the early wonder and disillusionment of city life in "The Enormous Radio" to the surprising discoveries and common mysteries of suburbia in "The Housebreaker of Shady Hill" and "The Swimmer," Cheever tells us everything we need to know about "the pain and sweetness of life."--Publisher's description.

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