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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  4,680 ratings  ·  215 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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78th out of 406 books — 68 voters
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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 Shawshank ...more
“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
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 monologu ...more
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
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
Betsy Robinson
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
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
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
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
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 t ...more
Jan 16, 2012 Kirstie rated it 4 of 5 stars
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 wi ...more
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
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 so ...more
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 mo ...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 e ...more
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

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
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 d ...more
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
Damon Garr
How much context should we bring to a novel? Should we consider the writer's other works? Should the author's biography inform the reading of a particular novel?

I would like to read a book independent of its context. While the text may have an historical context that comes from without, what we should care about is within the text. Yet, when I read John Cheever's Falconer I couldn't help but consider the author's other work. The novel is so different from what I think of as John Cheever.

The nove
Falconer, John Cheever's best novel, is nothing less than a 20th-century classic, a story of human failure and redemption by one of the best fiction writers in American literature. Ezekiel Farragut arrives at Falconer prison, convicted of murdering his brother, Ebenezer. Farragut, a college professor, an intellectual, and a drug addict, has methodically cut himself off from the people in his life. He is selfish, nacissistic, aloof, egotistical in the extreme, and devoted to one thing: feeding hi ...more
I read this book as part of my “A Lifetime of Books Challenge”. It’s not a book I normally would have chosen to read; but, it had a lot of good reviews. At first I had a hard time getting into the story. It is about a man, Ezekiel Farragut, convicted of murdering his brother and sentenced to time in prison. The prison is Falconer. He is a middle-class worker; a salesman. He also is a drug addict, stemming from his time in the army. The book takes you through his time in prison with flashbacks t ...more
I kind of wish that there were half star ratings on this site, because I feel emphatically 3 1/2 about this, but it seems a shame to stick it with a paltry 3.

This novel is distinctly American...which left me fairly hot or cold on it. Cheever uses very spare language that is occasionally flecked with powerful imagery to get across the story of a heroin addicted, college professor fratricide stuck in prison. It is certainly unsparing in its look into Farragut's (the main character) life which is w
Daniel Taylor
The bookseller who showed me where this book was located said that it was a really good read.

College professor Ezekiel Farragut is sent to prison because he's a heroin addict and sexual adventurer. This novel tells of his time in prison before his trial.

The prose to this has a nice rhythm and it's one of those books that you need to read many times to fully appreciate. I can see it's good, and I like it, but I can't put my finger on why on this first reading. One thing I liked was that despite d

I put this review off for a couple of days because I don't really know what to say to review this as I don't think that my words can do this justice. I will try anyway.

We go to Falconer Prison where our main character Farragut is currently housed for his crimes in the community. Being a drug addict and killing his brother, Farragut has more problems then even that would suggest. Cheever does an amazing job portraying the criminal thinking, the blaming, the innocence and immaturity, the hope
Marc Kozak
Very very good prose! Some parts were absolutely hysterical: there was a scene were Farragut was so outraged by a percieved wrong during his stay at prison that he decided to write angry letters to the government, the bishop, and for some reason, an ex-lover. The everyday insanity of their prison schedule were the best parts.

I feel like some of this is a bit dated - society's views have changed (somewhat)regarding stories of graphic sex and scenes of homosexuality, and the impact has surely dul
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
Sean Owen
I've enjoyed Cheever's short works, but this short novel falls flat. Farragut's imprisonment is intended as a parallel for the moral failings of certain type of debauched upper middle class WASP. This type of class is such a historical artifact as to be recognizable as something only encountered in a certain genre of novel. The centrality of this to the book makes the whole thing hopelessly outdated.
Joe Krudys
This was on Time's Top 100 List? I'm not sure I see why. It's not that the book wasn't good, it just wasn't great. Farragut seemed to be a drug addicted hollowed out soul going through the motions of surviving in prison, and nothing more, which was probably the point, but I felt both a lack of character depth and a plot, and I at least like to have one of those in a book. Aside from these flaws, it was still a book that kept my attention throughout, and I did like the writing, so I wouldn't say ...more
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
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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 43 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.” 7 likes
“Chicken began to cry then or seemed to cry, to weep or seemed to weep, until they heard the sound of a grown man weeping, an old man who slept on a charred mattress, whose life savings in tattoos had faded to a tracery of ash, whose crotch hair was sparse and gray, whose flesh hung slack on his bones, whose only trespass on life was a flat guitar and a remembered and pitiful air of "I don't know where it is, sir, but I'll find it, sir," and whose name was known nowhere, nowhere in the far reaches of the earth or in the far reaches of his memory, where, when he talked to himself, he talked to himself as Chicken Number Two.” 1 likes
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