Kemper's Reviews > Falconer

Falconer by John Cheever
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May 05, 11

bookshelves: 100, classic-lit, prison, 2011
Read from May 01 to 04, 2011

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, Falconer seems like a Sandals Resort.

Farragut is a new inmate who was convicted of killing his brother. He’s a drug addict on methadone, and came from a formerly rich family. In a typical prison story he’d be fresh meat, but the worst thing that happens to him in Falconer is getting his watch stolen and a bad episode of methadone withdrawl. Other than that, Farragut mainly sits around listening to the other prisoner’s bitch and reflecting on his life. He falls in love with another inmate and has some tense moments when a neighboring prison has an Attica style riot and hostage situation that makes the Falconer guards nervous, but that’s about it.

This is a curiously ‘meh’ story to me. I was expecting a lot more from a book that was named one of Time’s 100 best novels. It’s not bad, and I don’t think I wasted my time reading it. However, when I was done, all I could think was, “Is that it?”
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Milo (new) - added it

Milo How are you liking Falconer so far?


Kemper Milo wrote: "How are you liking Falconer so far?"

I'm kind of 'meh' about it. It's OK, but not living up to its rep so far.


message 3: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy Gay sex, prison, and drug addiction? This sounds like something I can't pass up. But I won't blame you if I don't like it.


Kemper Nancy wrote: "Gay sex, prison, and drug addiction? This sounds like something I can't pass up. But I won't blame you if I don't like it."

I think you'll be disappointed. It's suprisingly tame.


message 5: by Snotchocheez (new)

Snotchocheez for what it's worth, I don't think this novel won a Pulitzer; Cheever won one with a collection of short stories in '79, but this didn't. Still sounds like a somewhat compelling read.


Kemper Snotchocheez wrote: "for what it's worth, I don't think this novel won a Pulitzer; Cheever won one with a collection of short stories in '79, but this didn't."

Ah, my mistake. The copy I had said Pulitzer Prize winner on the cover under his name. I screwed up and thought it meant the book, but it meant that Cheever was the winner. I will correct in the review. Thanks for pointing that out.


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