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Collected Stories and Other Writings

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  438 ratings  ·  41 reviews
John Cheever’s stories rank among the finest achievements of twentieth-century short fiction. Ensnared by the trappings of affluence, adrift in the emptiness of American prosperity, his characters find themselves in the midst of dramas that, however comic, pose profound questions about conformity and class, pleasure and propriety, and the conduct and meaning of an individu ...more
Hardcover, 1056 pages
Published March 5th 2009 by Library of America
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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Nov 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Children drown, beautiful women are mangled in automobile accidents, cruise ships founder, and men die lingering deaths in mines and submarines, but you will find none of this in my accounts. In the last chapter the ship comes home to port, the children are saved, the miners will be rescued. Is this an infirmity of the genteel or a conviction that there are discernible moral truths?” From “The Jewels Of The Cabots", written in 1972, the last story of this magnificent collection.

These are the
Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 equally encourages me to write and at the same time convinces me that I have no ...more
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
By chance, because a friend recommended it, I watch the film 'The Swimmer. ' It destroyed me for some odd reason. It is then that I picked up "Collected Stories and Other Writings by Cheever, who was a writer I never even bothered thinking - due to me that he seemed to be a writer in a very boring time in U.S. literary contemporary history. Boy was I wrong. He's an incredible writer, and his short stories are like knife stabs in an opened wound. The first story I read was "The Swimmer," because ...more
Oct 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Grab this collection, get a blanket and someone you care about, then hurry to find a pristine park in the Northeast where you can read aloud. The result will be astonishingly weighty and strangely refreshing.
Michael Sparrow
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third time I've read these stories. First read them (in the red-covered Knopf edition) in 1978 when I was in college and working as a cleaner at the airport. At that young age, the stories impressed me with their characterizations and their humor. The second (in this Library of America edition) reading was mostly on vacation in Cape May, sitting on the balcony and looking at the ocean, contemplating my forthcoming retirement. This time, I read them more slowly and was incredibly move ...more
Lewis Woolston
Mar 02, 2022 rated it liked it
I don't know if it's me or if it's the book but this just didn't float my boat.
Something about it just bored me and rubbed me the wrong way, i'm not even sure what it was, the WASPy characters? The general vibe of the thing? The 1950's subdued-ness of it all?
I can't put my finger on it.
I'm sure this actually does have literary merit but i just couldn't click with it.
Oct 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
It took me quite a while to finish this book and I was reading a borrowed edition from a friend, who recommended it to me as "something lengthy but able to keep your interest going". I dived into it with relatively low expectations and I was quickly taken aback by the writing style and cleverness that are apparent throughout most of the book. It can easily be read during the summer at the beach, with some good wine or iced coffee by your side.

The only reason I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5 is
Susan Fetterer
Aug 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A great writer and especially enjoyable for readers who relish the droll humor and understatement employed by British writers. I feel British just writing this. I highly recommend 'The Enormous Radio' --- thought to be one of his finest. If you love Evelyn Waugh (the master of wry) and current writer Alan Bennett you'll find this collection to be exceptional. ...more
Ken French
Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I first read Cheever in my teens and 20s and enjoyed the writing but didn't relate to the characters. Now that I'm a suburban dad in my late 40s, I (sadly, at times) relate more to Cheever's disaffected characters. ...more
W. Benson Cartwright
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Don't be mad at Cheever cause he's so damn good. Just get better already. ...more
Sue Lipton
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up
This is the sort of book one need to OWN so the stories can be enjoyed slowly. I couldn’t renew it from the library any more, so only made my way through ~ 1/3.
Mar 19, 2022 rated it it was ok
As with the other book by John Cheever that I read, I only got this book to read one story in it, "the season of divorce." If you look at my review of his other collection of short stories, you'll see what I think about John Cheever and his writing.
It seems to me that John Cheever had a strange life, and strange friends. His ideas of a home life, and a married life, with children, seem weird. It could be the difference between class, culture, and the time that this was written, but I think it's
Sep 25, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Cheever was a remarkable man. He never graduated from high school (he was expelled from Thayer Academy), never attended college, and his family was harshly affected by both the Great Depression and alcoholism, including Cheever's. His first short story, "Expelled," appeared in the National Review when he was 18, and Cheever went on to become one of the most published story writers in The New Yorker (along with John O'Hara and John Updike). Describing himself as a lonely man, Cheevers stayed marr ...more
Jan 31, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Cheever evokes a sort of lost utopia of mid-twentieth century suburban life--and then shows its seams and flaws. His stories envelop the reader in silky, evocative prose about seemingly familiar, ubiquitous people (neighbors), and having lulled the reader into a sense of security, peel away layers until the truth is revealed. Some have an almost magical-realist twist, and many are morality tales of a sort. But all are entertaining and thought-provoking.

"The Swimmer" is a story that will stay wi
Ciel Blue Rivers
Oct 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Old fashioned, for sure, yet still some of the consistently freshest prose in American letters. No one seems more alive on the page than John Cheever. If you read him, chances are you will never feel as alive in your own life as you will over the course of his 1000+ pages worth of short stories, where miraculous sentences flow from miraculous sentences. "A page of good prose remains invincible" and nowhere else does this ring more true than here. ...more
Apr 10, 2022 rated it liked it
Niche dark short stories. I read them all but came for The Swimmer. White, upper middle-class problems in Connecticut suburbs within commuting distance to The City. Many first published in The New Yorker. They are good but it does remind the reader how important representation can be!
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
I read 20 of Cheever's short stories (many more are included in this volume, along with several interesting biographical essays). Most of them are set in Manhattan or the Westchester town of Shady Hill, the author's standing for Ossining, where he and his family moved in the mid-1950s. Many of the stories are similar, featuring less-than-ideal marriages, infidelity, strained family relationships, heavy drinking, and financial or professional failures. Many characters are wearing masks, pretendin ...more
Jon Marc Smith
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Obviously, Cheever is one of the most celebrated American short story writers of the 20th century. Until now, though I'm familiar with many of his stories, I had never read the complete collected.

Like all short story writers this side of Joyce and Chekhov, Cheever is inconsistent, but his 20 or so good short stories are really, really good. Thematically, he goes to the booze-work-suburbia well a bit too many times, but if you're looking for middle-class, mid-century realism, he's your man. Rich
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Re-read, 04/2018 (LOA version)- Cheever stands, in my estimation, alongside Raymond Carver as the best writer of short stories in America. The brilliance and beauty of this collection are infinite.

This book is a treasure trove of great stories. Despite Cheever's feeling that his earlier work was not his best, I actually found a lot of the later stories to be much more awkward and disjointed. Regardless, there is a wealth of fantastic material here.
Sep 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
I'll be honest, this was a LONG book. I had no idea just how many short stories Cheever had written and it took me more than a month to get through them all. I love his writing, but the themes are all the same so my best advice would be to get this book, and then read one story at a time over the course of, say, a year. Front to back was tough. No regrets, however! ...more
Feb 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
color-me-closeminded, but I can't find any real depth in the seemingly endless stream of stories revealing nothing but mild angst, all of which appears to stem from a life surrounded by heavily inebriated new englanders. ...more
May 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
2½ stars. I gave up on this at page 386 (of over 1000 pgs) - I just wasn't enjoying most of these short stories. They were well-written but the people and the life portrayed just depressed me. ...more
Marianna Monaco
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This is a revisit of John Cheever. I have read many of his stories in collected anthologies.
Some of my favorites in this book: The Enormous Radio; Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor; The Swimmer
May 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A master at work. The very first story in the collection, "Goodbye, My Brother," is worth the price of admission. ...more
John Baker
Jun 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Seriously, THE best collection of his work (aside from "The Complete Novels" they published). Even includes his first published story. A masterpiece. ...more
Jul 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Some of these stories were in a previous collection that I read 20 years ago but they are definitely worth rereading. Cheever is superb at the short story and every one is unique.
Dec 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: excellent
finished today and I am crazy about John Cheever all over again!
A book to go back and dip into over time as it's incredibly long and since it's Cheever, it sucks the happy right out of the room. Worth the visits. Adieu until next time, JC. ...more
Micah McCarty
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of our greatest writers. I need to own this book so I can continue to go back and read these short stories. Wonderful!
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Some of the best short stories I know of. The swimmer is probably the most famous, but don't stop there. Keep reading, its well worth it. ...more
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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:

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