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John Cheever (1912-1982), the leading exponent of the kind of carefully fashioned story of modern suburban manners that The New Yorker popularized, has been called by the reviewer John Leonard "the Chekhov of the suburbs." Cheever spent most of his life in New York City and in suburban towns similar to the ones he described in much of his fiction. Born in Quincy, Massachusetts, he was raised by parents who owned a prosperous business that failed after the 1929 stock market crash. His parents enjoyed reading literature to him, so at an early age he was acquainted with the fiction of Charles Dickens, Jack London, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

He started his career at an unusually young age. Expelled from Thayer Academy for being, by his own account, a "quarrelsome, intractable... and lousy student," he moved to New York City, lived in a cell of a room on a bread—and—buttermilk diet, and wrote stories. When his first one, "Expelled," was accepted for publication by Malcolm Cowley, then editor of the New Republic, Cheever was launched as a teenager into a career as a writer of fiction. Cheever's first collection of stories, The Way Some People Live, appeared in 1942, while he was completing a four-year stint of army duty. In 1953 he strengthened his literary reputation with the book The Enormous Radio and Other Stories, a collection of fourteen of his New Yorker pieces. Six years later appeared another story collection, The Housebreaker of Shady Hill.

In the 1960s and 1970s he published three more books of short stories and two widely acclaimed novels, Bullet Park (1969) and Falconer (1977). The Stories of John Cheever, published in 1978, won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award and became one of the few collections of short stories ever to make the New York Times bestseller list. In more than fifty years, Cheever published over 200 magazine stories; he figured that he earned "enough money to feed the family and buy a new suit every other year."

  The Stories of John Cheever "These stories," writes Cheever in the preface to this Pulitzer Prize winning collection of stories, "seem at times to be stories of a long-lost world when the city of New York was still filled with a river light, when you heard the Benny Goodman quartets from a radio in the corner stationary store,... Read more

  The Wapshot Chronicle Novel by John Cheever, published in 1957 and granted a National Book Award in 1958. Based in part on Cheever's adolescence in New England, the novel takes place in a small Massachusetts fishing village and relates the breakdown of both the Wapshot family and the town. Part One focuses on Leander, a... Read more

  American Masters : The Short Stories of Raymond Carver, John Cheever, and John Updike What's unique about American Masters is that it's such a complete work of art. Not only are the stories well written and thought provoking, but the narrators are perfectly suited to their tasks. Each voice is like the bass note of a complex symphony--whenever your mind begins to wander, swimming... Read more

    Falconer In a nightmarish prison a convict named Farragut struggles to remain a man. Out of Farragut's suffering and astonishing salvation, Cheever crafted his most powerful work of fiction. Read more

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    John Cheever - A biography and works.
    The John Cheever Web Site - This site presents several critical essays on Cheever's work, including "Parody and the Suburban Aesthetic," and "Cheever's Puritanism and the Pastoral." Photographs of the author are also featured.

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