Iowa City Public Library's Reviews > The Stories of John Cheever

The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
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's review
Jul 09, 2010

bookshelves: fiction, terri, staff-picks-blog

Could you imagine being Susan Cheever and being told when you are an adult that a temper tantrum you had as a child served as the source for one of your fathers well known stories? Wouldn’t you wonder what it was you were doing as a child that inspired your father to write a story where the little girl in the family is killed in an accident? Well that story, The Hartley’s, and many others are featured in The Stories of John Cheever. This Pulitzer Prize winner contains some of the best stories written by a man who many consider the best short story writer ever. Cheever (1912-1982), wrote about what we aspired to be in depression and post war America. What Cheever did in writing about those people in that era was to direct our attention from what these people had and made the reader see who these people were. The Sorrows of Gin, The Enormous Radio, Of Youth and Beauty all show how what we aspire to be may be quite a bit different from what we really are and perhaps the real lesson is in knowing the differences. Cheever’s genre was the short story. He wrote a few novels but this collection gives the reader a wonderful look into a period of time told by a master. My personal favorite is Christmas is a Sad Season For the Poor, probably one of the finest examples of a seasonal tale ever put to paper. Cheever got that understanding we are all looking for. We are lucky to have this collection. --Terri

From ICPL Staff Picks Blog
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