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3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  5,782 Ratings  ·  281 Reviews
Stunning and brutally powerful, Falconer tells the story of a man named Farragut, his crime and punishment, and his struggle to remain a man in a universe bent on beating him back into childhood. Only John Cheever could deliver these grand themes with the irony, unforced eloquence, and exhilarating humor that make Falconer such a triumphant work of the moral imagination.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 15th 1992 by Vintage (first published 1977)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 05, 2011 Kemper rated it liked it
Shelves: 100, classic-lit, 2011, prison
Falconer Correctional Facility certainly sounds dreary and no place I’d want to spend any time, but it doesn’t seem nearly as bad as many fictional prisons. In fact, it seems pretty dull. There weren’t any beatings from brutal guards. There’s no racial tension evident. No one gets shivved or shanked. The only riot in the story actually takes place at another prison and isn’t discussed in detail. There’s no escape tunnels being dug through walls. Compared to fictional prisons like Oz or ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Hadrian rated it really liked it
Shelves: usa, fiction
Curious book. I'd never thought Cheever would write his prison novel.

Not so much of a plot here, so much as there is an evolution of characters. Sumptuous prose style, only very rarely boring. You'd expect a prison novel to be about freedom, and it is, but it's nimbly done.

This is the third time I've read Falconer. The first was in college--I had just met John Cheever at a reading and the book had just been published and everyone, everyone knew it was a masterpiece, including me. If GoodReads had been around I would have given Falconer 5 stars.

I read it again fifteen years later, after everyone had forgotten about it. You could barely find it in bookstores--there was just room enough on the shelves for one Cheever book, by that time, and it was invariably his fat
Feb 06, 2015 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Falconer”, escrito em 1977, é o último romance de John Cheever e por muitos considerado a sua obra-prima.
É um livro tão duro quanto belo, límpido na sua crueza, humano e impiedoso.

Parece-me revelador o que a filha de John Cheever, Susan Cheever, afirma sobre a fase final da vida do pai, fase esta que coincide com a escrita de “Falconer”:

"For me, the end of his life is triumphant. He stops drinking. He writes what I think is his best book [Falconer, a novel about a drug addict, serving time for
Feb 14, 2008 Flora rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels, not-so-much
It was inevitable, I suppose, that Cheever write a prison novel (a compelling prospect, theoretically), but aside from some moments of wonderful prose, this story of an incarcerated heroin addict wallowing in the pleasurable humiliations of jailhouse eroticism came off as banal, even callow. Instead of orienting the novel firmly in its setting, the prison -- the titular Falconer -- feels more like a pretext than a context, and the characters never really emerge from their arid, rambling ...more
Nathalie Fytrou
3,5*. Μου φάνηκε πολύ "κλασικό" αμερικανικό μυθιστόρημα (με την καλή έννοια). Επίσης, είχε κάποιες σκηνές συγκλονιστικές. Αλλά έχοντας διαβάσει το "Μισώ τα πρωινά" του Ρουιγιάν [] με αντίστοιχο θέμα, το οποίο ήταν συγκλονιστικό στο 90% του, δεν έπαθα και πλάκα, ενώ άλλοι φίλοι το θεωρούν ως ένα από τα καλύτερα βιβλία που έχουν διαβάσει.
Feb 24, 2012 Randy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So here, then, is a John Cheever's great penal novel. Or should I say, penile novel. Yes, yes, the pun is too obvious to be anything but unfunny. But it's just shouting from the eaves to be thrust into the spotlight.

This is primarily because on cannot turn a page without finding cocks, balls, erections, ejaculations, peckers, dicks, tumescences, foreskins, pissings, and yes, at least one anal intrusion by a phallic object.

What would I expect, I suppose, from a prison novel. I've heard that song
Oct 20, 2010 Rachel rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Saul Bellow called Falconer elegant, pure, and indispensable. John Updike said it gives us back our humanity. Newsweek calls it a masterpiece. I would also like to sum it up just as succinctly, but I don't know how to spell that farting noise you can make with your armpit.

Ezekial Farragut is a wealthy upper-class heroin addict imprisoned in Falconer Prison for killing his brother. The narrative shifts back and forth between the day-to-day realities of prison life (which seem to aim for Kafkaesq
Aug 16, 2011 Dan rated it really liked it
While I enjoyed Cheever's writing (as a thing in itself), the subject matter of this particular work may be a bit "over-the-top" for more reserved / conservative / thematically sensitive readers (or somewhat age-inappropriate for folks less than 16-18). Cheever explores some interesting aspects of institutional imprisonment, drug abuse, psychology, homosexuality, and violence in such a way (and with such detail) it is difficult to imagine that Cheever is not speaking from personal experience... ...more
Dec 12, 2007 Ian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel of bracing honesty, above all. Cheever's matter-of-fact reporting and his characters are both frank and entirely convincing. I've heard Falconer described as a tale of redemption, but frankly I found little evidence of transformation in Farragut himself. He is an egoïste in the latter part of his life, whose tastes and desires are fully formed and which he has no intention to change, though in Falconer he must learn to live with infrequent satisfaction. (His libido in particular is remi ...more
This isn’t your typical correctional facility; in fact Falconer Correctional Facility is very boring, there is nothing happening, just a bunch of lonely men trying to make it through their sentences. No brutality, no abuse and the only riot that happens in the book is just as boring as the rest of prison life. The main character; Farragut is convicted of murdering his brother; he is from a formally rich family and a drug addict. The whole book is about him and his desire for methadone; nothing ...more
Πάνος Τουρλής
Φάλκονερ, η δαντική κόλαση του 20ού αιώνα. Ένα εκπληκτικό βιβλίο για την ανθρώπινη ψυχολογία και τα όρια στα οποία μπορεί να φτάσει, ένα καλειδοσκόπιο προσωπικοτήτων και συμπεριφορών μέσα στο κέντρο αναμόρφωσης Φάλκονερ. Χωρίς να είναι κουραστικό και φλύαρο και χωρίς να έχουμε έντονη δράση και περιπέτειες, με αφορμή τον εγκλεισμό του οπιομανούς και δολοφόνου Ιεζεκιήλ Φάραγκατ, γνωρίζουμε έναν έναν τους τροφίμους και τον αρχιφύλακα του ιδρύματος, τις συνθήκες διαβίωσης, την καθημερινότητά τους, ...more
May 12, 2009 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is both inventive and conventional; it would even make a pleasant beach read. John Cheever effectively manages both a broad lyrical range and--do I dare say it?--a plot! Yes, it can be done. Falconer wrestles out many of the sordid details of a heroin addict sentenced to prison for fratricide (the gay lover, the methadone, the riots, the cat killing) with a prosody that seems somehow unattainable. And, it's not by any stretch a victim's story. Where Cheever excels is where he is able ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-usa, e4
Farragut acidentalmente, ou não, mata o irmão. É condenado e enviado para Falconer.
Durante o seu tempo de reclusão, recorda o seu passado, vive o seu presente e conquista o seu futuro.

Um belíssimo romance sobre a paixão, o desejo e o amor.
“Farragut desenvolveu uma sensibilidade sobrenatural ao simples chiar dos ténis do amante. Havia noites em que lhe parecia que a vida dependia desse som.”

Mas, acima de tudo, um livro sobre a maior ambição do ser humano: a Liberdade.
“Levantou bem a cabeça, end
Sep 29, 2009 Fionnuala rated it it was ok
Beautiful prose (won a Pulitzer), but very dated. Like so many American novels of the 70s, this is a very enclosed book, drilling down into a flawed man's consciousness. No credible women characters (perhaps fair enough as is set in a prison), a glorification of drugs and alcohol, crazily unbelievable plot twists, lots of short-story style interludes. I could forgive all those flaws if there was a bit of verve to the book, but it is grimly Great American Novel Serious. Sorry, buster, but I've ...more
Dec 24, 2015 Danae rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Qué gran libro. Redondísimo. La prosa de Cheever es demasiado bella también.
Me gustó mucho el personaje de Jody, sentí enamoramiento por él.
Este libro lo leímos en el club de lectura al que voy y me encantó darme cuenta de las interpretaciones distintas que distintas personas pueden hacer según sus biografías. La idea de la adicción funciona como una metáfora muy transversal.
Chris Gager
Jun 13, 2016 Chris Gager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just started last night as I abruptly ran out of books to read with time left on the reading "clock." So far I've read "The Wapshot Chronicle" and some short stories by Cheever. He's a great writer. The set-up seems a bit fishy here(an upper-crust murderer???), but we'll see. The wife's a mega-bitch but maybe she has cause to be. The imprisoned husband's a drug addict who "accidently" killed his brother - that's some seriously bad stuff!

This book gets a shout-out in the "Seinfeld" Cheever episod
Jan 16, 2012 Kirstie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Cheever, those interested in prisoners
This is an interesting novel and about a subject that isn't written about too takes place within the confines of a prison and there's a great deal of characterization of the prisoners and their stories as well as the philosophical thinking of the protagonist, who perhaps accidentally killed his brother and his addicted to methadone. There's some ideas of prisoner's rights as well as memories, a homosexual love affair, a clergy visit, and even a little of revolution but it leaves you ...more
Jul 20, 2011 J213 rated it liked it
A book about a prisoner named Zeke Farragut, Falconer is one of those antiquated "classics" in which the story is more centered around meandering thoughts and loose memories than any real description of the people and places that Farragut interacts with. The prose is exceptional however, but Cheever's style is much too poetic and rambling to connect with most people these days. Even though I called it antiquated, it was only written in 1977 which doesn't make it ancient or anything, but someone ...more
Mar 29, 2009 Tony rated it really liked it
Cheever, John. FALCONER. (1977). ****. This was a re-read of a book I first read when it came out over thirty years ago. When I was reading the recent biography of Cheever by Blake Bailey, I was amazed at the praise heaped on this novel. I didn’t remember it as being all that great – at least not next to most of Cheever’s earlier work. So...I read it again. It’s not as good as his early work, though it is well written. I think all the hullabaloo was caused by the subject matter, which was very ...more
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
It's books like this that make me enjoy reading.

This book is about prison life. F is convicted for killing his brother. I think they refer to it as fatricide. Of course he claims he didn't do it and that is expected.

He writes about his experiences in prison. Experiences which are not entirely discouraging.

I say that because of conversations with quotes like this-

One- Let the other fellow feel like all the good ideas are his

Two- Throw down a challenge

Three- Open up with praise and honest appre
Betsy Robinson
Jan 07, 2015 Betsy Robinson rated it liked it
I'm glad I read Falconer, I admire the writing, but I don't think I will want to reread this book.

Cheever masterfully wrote men (and I do mean men, not women) in their most degraded state. Because of this, the humor, when it came, made me belly laugh, and, for that, I love the book. Degraded men stuck in a cage with nothing to lose have nothing to do but talk. And talk, they do.

I grew up near Sing Sing, which I'm guessing is the model for Falconer. Cheever, who lived near me, may have even bee
 don presnell

Having other than fret in our lives.
I've just kind of run around hither dither.
My wife wise beyond her years, though 13 years
my junior
Taught me it's okay to be myself
Instead of using false superiority to cover low self esteem

spoiler- We see our protagonist so wrapped up in his
opioid self loathing, he makes to hang himself rather
than be denied his methadone.
Every morning right on time first in line.
Then becomes involved in something he enjoys,
looks at the clock shit I mi
Jan 20, 2013 Darwin8u rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2013
There is something both unsettling and beautiful about this compact Cheever novel. A novel of punishment and redemption, Falconer is also a story of addiction, of confinement, of an introspective man moving from his isolated past to his very human present. It is hard to compare Cheever's style to anyone, but there were moments where I felt I was floating in the same literary river as O'Connor, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, and Percy. His prose is amazing, his imagination is sharp, and the depth of his ...more
George-Icaros Babassakis
Δυνατό/ Βίωμα & στυλ / ο Cheever μένει να ανακαλυφθεί εκ νέου / Ο εγκλεισμός και τα δεινά του / Πολύ καλή η μετάφραση της Ιλάειρας Διονυσοπούλου
Jan 23, 2012 Insidebooks rated it really liked it

This is not a particularly easy story to read. The tale of a man who kills his brother, is addicted to drugs and ends up in prison is not perhaps the ideal way to create a scenario and character that will lead to reader's hearts. But you find yourself on the side of Farragut despite all these things.

He describes how and why he became addicted to drugs - fed them during the war and then existence in a society that seems to be drugging the population in some form or other - and you find yourself h
Michael Flick
Feb 28, 2016 Michael Flick rated it did not like it
Shelves: worst
Banal? Callow? Faintly ridiculous? Dated? Maybe just plain boring is the best that can be said of this book.

No narrative arc, not much if any plot. Wanders aimlessly from mildly interesting vignette to mildly less interesting vignette. No answer to the repeated “Why is you an addict?” question. The whole narcotic addiction aspect misses the mark: withdrawal comes on too soon, it’s not a matter of life and death, methadone doesn’t deliver a high. Page after page of dialogue that no human being wo
Oct 14, 2014 Ben rated it it was ok
You know you're reading a gritty book when something cute and innocent is slaughtered early on. Sets a tone! Nothing, not even innocence and beauty themselves, is safe from the cannibalistic hellhole we live in. Right? At this point, I think we can all just skip ahead, assume that a hedgehog has been ripped apart or whatever, and save authors who what to write about the depravity of humanity the trouble.

I didn't get much out of this book. There were a few sections that were compelling, but almo
Jack Wolfe
Dec 03, 2015 Jack Wolfe rated it liked it
It's called "Falconer" (a prison, and the setting of the novel) and not "Farragut" (a prisoner, and the main character of the novel) for a reason. This is not an "Orange is the New Black"-style character study: it's a mood piece, and the mood is almost always grey. Not "black" though. For all the prison sex and violence depicted or implied in the book, there's nothing "extreme" here. Cheever is not as interested in the effects of prison on the body as he is the effects of prison on the soul. So ...more
Jul 04, 2012 Aprile rated it it was amazing
Sembra un romanzo autobiografico, preciso, chiaro, non vi sono esitazioni, si ha l’impressione che l’autore scriva di cose che conosce bene. Al tempo stesso il tono è distaccato, come se i fatti raccontati si riferissero a parecchi anni prima. Sembra che l’autore relazioni l’esperienza fatta da un amico che lo mette al corrente in un’unica seduta, in un intenso pomeriggio, senza dovizia di particolari ma badando solo all’essenziale. Sono giornate, mesi di vita in carcere di assassini, di uomini ...more
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The Bookhouse Boys: Falconer discussion thread 14 11 May 07, 2014 03:57PM  
What's The Name o...: prison sex and drugs?[s] 4 44 Feb 11, 2012 08:04PM  
FALCONER by Cheever 2 24 Jan 15, 2012 04:02PM  
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John Cheever was an American novelist and short story writer, sometimes called "the Chekhov of the suburbs" or "the Ovid of Ossining." His fiction is mostly set in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the suburbs of Westchester, New York, and old New England villages based on various South Shore towns around Quincy, Massachusetts, where he was born.

His main themes include the duality of human nature:
More about John Cheever...

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“Long ago when they first invented the atomic bomb people used to worry about its going off and killing everybody, but they didn't know that mankind has enough dynamite right in his guts to tear the fucking plant to pieces.” 12 likes
“He followed her into the bathroom and sat on the shut toilet seat while she washed her back with a brush. "I forgot to tell you," he said. "Liza sent us a wheel of Brie." "That's nice," she said, "but you know what? Brie gives me terribly loose bowels." He hitched up his genitals and crossed his legs. "That's funny," he said. "It constipates me." That was their marriage then--not the highest paving of the stair, the clatter of Italian fountains, the wind in the alien olive trees, but this: a jay-naked male and female discussing their bowels.” 3 likes
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