Kindle The Stories of John Cheever eBook ½ The Stories

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 lifeGoodbye my brother The common day The enormous radio O city of broken dreams The Hartleys The Sutton Place story The summer farmer Torch song The pot of gold Clancy in the Tower of Babel Christmas is a sad season for the poor The season of divorce The chaste Clarissa The cure The superintendent The children The sorrows of gin O youth and beauty The day the pig fell into the well The five forty eight Just one time The housebreaker of Shady Hill The bus to St James's The worm in the apple The trouble of Marcie Flint The bella lingua The Wrysons The country husband The duchess The scarlet moving van Just tell me who it was Brimmer The golden age The lowboy The music teacher A woman without a country The death of Justina Clementina Boy in Rome A miscellany of characters that will not appear The chimera The seaside houses The angel of the bridge The brigadier and the golf widow A vision of the world Reunion An educated American woman Metamorphoses Mene mene tekel upharsin Montraldo The ocean Marito in città The geometry of love The swimmer The world of apples Another story Percy The fourth alarm Artemis the honest well digger Three stories The jewels of the Cabots

10 thoughts on “The Stories of John Cheever

  1. says:

    John Cheever is a brilliant raconteur – one of my most favourite He excellently knows the stuff our lives are made ofAlthough this entire anthology is a gold mine The Swimmer and The Day the Pig Fell into the Well seems to be my preferred nuggetsThis is not an imitation she thought this is not the product of custom this is the uniue place the uniue air where my children have spent the best of themselves The realization that none of them had done well made her sink back in her chair She suinted the tears out of her eyes What had made the summer always an island she thought; what had made it such a small island? What mistakes had they made? What had they done wrong? They had loved their neighbors respected the force of modesty held honor above gain Then where had they lost their competence their freedom their greatness? Why should these good and gentle people who surrounded her seem like the figures in a tragedy?Unrealized dreams unfulfilled hopes unsuccessful plans and the rivers of sadness – they all are a part of our lives too

  2. says:

    Try reading John Cheever all summer and working at a country club That'll mess with you

  3. says:

    “betta check yo’self before you wreck yo’self” Da Ali G Party Bear in Bleak MidSeptemberI'd appreciate these stories I'm sure if I could see the silver lining in sadness broken lives and shattered dreams I loved three story collections from a few years ago which also had a melancholy bent Fortune Smiles Stories by Adam Johnson Thirteen Ways of Looking Fiction by Colum McCann and The Tsar of Love and Techno Stories by Anthony Marra For me the difference of these three from Cheever's collected stories taken as a whole are their glimpse of hope in humanity hint of redemption or forgiveness or the implication that evil may be defeated in a battle of the forces though perhaps not in the full warWith Cheevers' stories I typically have difficulty seeing the redemptive If this classifies me as a naive idealist a resident of a fantasy world or just a dumbass then so be itCheever's most famous story The Enormous Radio 1947 illustrates why I'm not particularly fond of this set In it an NYC husband buys a dark gumwood cabinet radio when it was centerpiece furniture for his family's 12th floor flat despite their inability to afford it The Radio begins picking up conversations arguments from others in their building which at first shock then fascinate them The wife becomes obsessed with eavesdropping then fears that others can hear her family's conversations She then becomes depressed from steady consumption of the problems of an entire building Much like the Radio this collection depresses me like say hearing about others' even fictional others' adultery alcoholism and domestic abjection andor abuse all of these stories touch on one of these 3 areas without a silver lining somewhere Don't get me wrong Cheever wrote stories I appreciateenjoy including a few in this assortment Yet as a whole this selection acts as sort of Black Hole for depression To be sure these stories were likely grand in the late 40s through early 70s when written bcuz they showed shiny happy people from the City and the suburbs suffering problems that Hollywood would not show on television the airwaves filled with black and white of the likes of Leave it to Beaver The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows BestMy favorite of these stories is The Sorrows of Gin following a pre teen Amy watch her parents get deeper and deeper into the bottle attending parties nearly every night and rarely showing the slightest interest in Amy Cheever wrote this from experience as a lifelong alcoholic whose relationships were decimated by his alcohol abuse I've not read or seen a story that so distilled pun intended the negative effects of alcoholism on a family I say alcoholism not alcohol most people can drink in moderation and only occasionally; the alcoholic for whatever reason cannot Here the selfish parents' selfishness steals time love and care from their daughter Amy's reaction and attempt to save her parents leads to an unexpected demoralization of the family as a unit All in all an excellent collection of stories for the time period in terms of structure writing moments of revelation

  4. says:

    I have been reading this book for 18 months This isn't the kind of book you just grab and set down and read from cover to cover just like I wouldn't think most people would grab the collected works of Shakespeare and read it one brilliant play after brilliant play I have enjoyed having Cheever by my bedside always available when I needed a break from my other reading endeavors Cheever is one of those writers that eually encourages me to write and at the same time convinces me that I have no business writing Not all of these stories are home runs thank goodness I was relieved to discover he is mortal with red blood and black ink but his strike outs were so few that certainly he would have had an alarmingly high on base percentage if writing were rewarded like baseball with bases I wanted to also make mention that these Library of America editions truly do add to the reading experience with Bible thin paper and sewn bindings These are books that are meant to be read time and time again and by multiple generations I own many of them and will steadily work my way through the best they have to offer

  5. says:

    These stories are primarily about people who suck but who somehow manage to maintain the appearance of people who don't suck Eventually they push their luck and are exposed Then all the neighbors gossip about them because it's better to keep the focus on the suckers who've been found out and hope no one finds out you suck just as bad or worse So why am I giving five stars to a collection of stories about people who mostly suck? Because John Cheever DOESN'T suck He absurdifies common emotions desires and behaviors in such a way that they are recognizable in the extreme Not in yourself of course because you don't suck Oh no not you But there are people all around you who want to seem upwardly mobile than they actually are and they have ugly secretsDon't get me wrong Not ALL of the stories follow the above pattern Some are sweet and some are funny Cheever has a flair for finishing stories in ways you'd least expect It's like sitting on a bee with your bare flesh exposed You're cruising along happily oblivious thinking hmmmmwonder where this story is going Then BAM You get a stinger in the end The sting doesn't last long though It just makes you want to sample the next story to see where it will wind up

  6. says:

    Sixty one stupendously good short stories in a stupefyingly massive volume This was my first encounter with Cheever and some of the stories were simply marvelous The Geometry of Love and The Swimmer being my favoritesMore later

  7. says:

    October 2009 Ὦ ξεῖν' ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδεκείμεθα τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι I'm not a very good student of History I haven't read Herodotus or Thucydides or the other great classical historians But I did see 300 and I spent about five minutes on Wikipedia so I know a little about the Battle of Thermopylae There's a monument there at the site of the battle with a neat little epitaph in Greek see above which according to one translation says Go tell the Spartans stranger passing byThat here obedient to their laws we lie Now I'm no great student of Greek either but those lines strike me as inaccurate They're too formal too uiet toowell humble And if Frank Miller taught me anything it's that the Spartans were anything but humble Or uiet Which leads me to believe the accurate translation should be something like this Hey you Prick Go tell everyone how awesome we were Yeah that's like itNow what does that have to do with The Stories of John Cheever? Good uestion The way I see it this handsome little collection presents itself just like that monument at Thermopylae It is formal humble almost genteel in a way it is itself a monument to Cheever Go tell the readers stranger passing by that these are the stories of John Cheever They are fairly good You are invited to peruse them if you like and judge for yourselfBullshit That's sissy Athenian talk Humble and polite Greek doesn't cut it not here which is why you know you just know that what this book is really trying to say is THIS IS CHEEVERFUCK YEAH Ok I'll admit this comparison isn’t entirely apt While Cheever and Sparta may both be awesome they are hardly the same kind of awesome The Spartans were loud and ultraviolent and homoerotic; Cheever was uiet and dry witted and clever You would never see a Spartan reading Cheever The Spartans were too brutal for Cheever perhaps they would prefer O'Connor instead? so it would probably be up to the Athenians those philosophers those boy lovers to appreciate this book if a copy of The Stories of John Cheever with English to Ancient Greek translation fell back through time and landed in the acropolis you can bet the Athenians would interpret it as a message from the gods and model their society around these stories The result no doubt would be the most fascinating Ancient Middle Class Suburban Greek society ever one in which all the statesmen play tennis between debates in the agora the philosophers are drunk on gin and everyone is hush hush about the pederastyBut I digress These are some damn good stories Real top notch stuff Granted a few of the weaker samplings should’ve been drowned at birth but the stronger ones my particular favorites Goodbye My Brother Clancy in the Tower of Babel The Children The Day the Pig Fell Into the Well The Duchess The Angel of the Bridge and The Swimmer among others could stand their ground against the mighty hordes of Persia and I should just stop right hereNow then stranger passing by go and tell everyone how fucking awesome this is

  8. says:

    The Stories of John CheeverJohn Cheever won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer for this collection in 1979 He died in 1982 at the age of seventy Cheever’s stories are full of soul searching and the polarities that exist in both our mind and our outward behaviors Some of his symbolism I am certain goes over my head but his stories are usually easy to follow Both his writing style and characters are usually tempered — there are only a few moments of over the top drama Sometimes his stories even end before the typical dramatic climax I enjoy the stories of the older version of Cheever when he was in his late forties to early sixties Most of these stories are in the second half of this collection Here are the eleven of the sixty one stories in this collection that resonated the most with me and that I think are wonderful examples of writing and story telling Most of these stories are uite famous Best Stories1 Goodbye My Brother This is the first story in the collection and was written by a young Cheever It is perhaps the most dramatic of the stories in this collection and focuses on the shocking capacity for humans to throw it all away based on little than long simmering resentment Very famous story studied at universities 2 Clancy in the Tower of Babel Clancy is a common man with good sensibilities but with too much pride As a super he saves a wealthy man from suicide but won’t acknowledge a gift of money that the wealthy man gave to his wife when he learned that Clancy lost his job while seriously ill One of the most poignant stories in the book Reminded me of Bernard Malamud as he also set so many of his stories in tenement buildings 3 The Season of Divorce A man named Trencher tries to seduce the protagonist’s wife A reflection on how many marriages were held together in the 1950’s because of the economic disadvantages facing women in a paternalistic world4 Five Forty Eight Boss sleeps with secretary and then fires her It turns out she has psychiatric problems and it becomes clear he picked the wrong woman to cross as she chases him on the train Story of vengeance5 The Country Husband Family doesn’t really care that the dad nearly dies in an airplane crash He is insufferably self centered He begins acting out and it escalates from his being rude to his neighbors and then on his plot to seduce the babysitter Also a famous short story 6 The Swimmer Ned decides to swim home 8 miles away by route of his friends and neighbors pools He is an alcoholic Readers watch his mind disintegrate in a single afternoon Strange and fantastic story One of his most famous7 The World of Apples An aging poet full of nostalgia comes to grips with not winning the Nobel Prize but he gets an inspiration to write another a poem that keeps him occupied in his final days8 Another Story The protagonist has an Italian friend who is a minor Prince and has moved to NYC and marries an American woman She becomes resentful that she gave up an Opera career to marry a man who won’t change or broaden his horizons The protagonist goes on a business trip years later and meets a man who tells him of a similar story — his wife wanted to become a singer and eventually came to resent her husband for not supporting her The stories are examples of chauvinistic men not understanding the women they marry9 Percy Story about a cousin and the cousin’s mother Percy The cousin is a very young concert pianist but he gives up his career at a young age to marry a beautiful German immigrant Percy his mother refuses to ever see here Very sad and well written story about the folly of living vicariously through one’s children 10 In the Fourth Alarm John Cheever’s male protagonist is dealing with his wife’s new found liberation as she joins an acting troupe One of the plays involves the women getting naked and simulating sex with the king The husband perhaps understandably is at his wit’s end 11 The Jewels of the Cabots A middle class protagonist has an interest in a wealthy family with two daughters He learns secondhand of a murder involving the family But shortly thereafter he finds out there is money in the patriarch’s will left for him and that is enough for him to say nothing Perhaps the most beautiful descriptive writing of any of the stories in spite of the dark undertones5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed most of the stories This collection adds to the ‘master of suburban ennui’ label that is often attributed to Cheever But there are also many excellent stories about tenements for example and of course his travels around the world

  9. says:

    I do not usually write a review of a book that I have not finished reading so this is an exception The Stories of John Cheever is a fine vintage collection of 61 stories It won the Putlizer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1979 The paperback edition also garnered a National Book Award in 1981 The stories depicted life in suburbia typically set in fictional Shady Hill Across this luminous collection of stories Cheever distilled the commonalities shared by disparate desperate lives The foibles and troubles of the characters beneath the facade of security struck a chord of familiarity The stories were all different yet they were linked by a common thread of humanity This was most evident in “Enormous Radio” one of the famous stories that first appeared in the New Yorker A radio intended to bring pleasure became the incidental gadget that gave a couple surreptitious access to conversations in their neighbor's houses revealing sordid family struggles When the story ended we realized that the couple who owned this radio was no different from their neighbors with their fair share of pain and disdain In “Christmas is a Sad Season” an elevator man found out that the rich dwellers of the building he served were as lonely as he was on Christmas Day In “The Country Husband” the protagonist Frank Weed who survived a near plane crash awoke to the epic realization of the vapid restlessness and suffocation imposed by the cloistered morality of suburbia In “Summer Farmer” Cheever captured the subtle undercurrents in familial interactions It is amazing how Cheever managed to make his character portrayals so sharp that in stories such as “Goodbye My Brother” the tensions could be traced to the uniue ualities of each family member in his or her response to the dysfunctional brother’s misanthropic turn of mind Even the sea was imbued with a purgative force There was no sugar coating in the stories that also told of couples pursuing a dream “O city of broken dreams” or trying unsuccessfully to retrieve lost happiness “The Hartleys” One of my favorites is “Torch Song” a creepy story about a Black Widow a single lady with an uncanny sixth sense to sniff out and attach herself to men who were dyingWhat struck me too is the way his stories typically end Life goes on the way it is normally lived despite elements of disturbance that ruffle euanimity or temptations that tug at the fringes Cheever stated in his Preface These stories seem 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 uarters from a radio in a stationery store and when almost everybody wore a hat But it is than this The stories also seem to hark back to an age of restraint and respect for what is decorous The constants as Cheever put it are “a love of light and a determination to trace some moral chain of being There was no sensationalism or high drama People went on with their ordinary lives They picked up where they left off when their dreams shattered; they held on to their lack lustre marriages eg “Chaste Clarissa” “A Season of Divorce and “The Trouble of Marcie Flint” There was something joyous and liberating in becoming aware that one had choices In “The Housebreaker of Shady Hill” Johnny Hake who pathologically broke into his neighbors’ houses and stole from them revealed in a moment of insight I was not trapped I was here on earth because I chose to be And it was no skin off my elbow how I had been given the gifts of life so long as I possessed them and I possessed them then It is not the smell of corn bread that calls us back from death; it is the lights and signs of love and friendshipI am about half way through this collection of short stories I read them one or two at any one time like sweet treats and I have enjoyed each one so far I can see why Beyond the grime and imperfection there promises to be “the lights and signs of love and friendship”

  10. says:

    We read Cheever not because we love stories about the suburbs but because Cheever shows us that a wild imagination can’t be bound even by the suburbs We enjoy the uality of observation the dialogue the air tight construction and what he teaches us about form both in every example and over the course of the collection but we read him for those moments when his stories take wing to escape cliche banality and the mundaneA few thoughts on Cheever