Jason Pettus > Recent Status Updates

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Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 669 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "Montraldo." Cheever's later work seems to be filled with rambling stories about expats either just leaving to or just getting back from Italy, and that seem to have no real point; then again, this WAS the nadir of his career, a raging alcoholic literally one step from death by the early '70s, and whose tossed-off "New Yorker" stories were often his only income that entire month.
Oct 07, 2010 11:42AM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 632 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "An Educated American Woman," in which once again a Cheever story seems to have inspired an episode of "Mad Men," in this case the story of a suburban housewife who us able to ignore her rapidly crumbling family by volunteering as the perpetual chair of whatever latest neighborhood civic organization has been created.
Oct 06, 2010 09:51AM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 614 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "A Vision of the World." There seems to have been a point in Cheever's career (around the mid-'60s, based on their location in this chronological story collection) where he became less interested in unique or shocking ideas and more in developing a deeper and more poetic style. This story is a good example of that transition.
Oct 05, 2010 10:42AM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 578 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Seaside Houses," a particularly haunting story about a man discovering the depths of another family's dysfunction, through the telltale details he finds in their home he's renting for the summer. Definitely one of the Cheever stories to read if you're only going to read a handful of them.
Sep 29, 2010 08:16PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 568 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Chimera," one of the better stories in the entire book, in which a suburban husband is so dissatisfied with his life, he makes up a fictitious woman to have an affair with. Plus a priceless scene of trying to find the number of a woman a friend claims is a slut!
Sep 29, 2010 08:15PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 516 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Death of Justina," one of Cheever's more grandly poetic tales of dysfunctional suburbia, a darkly comic tale of an old woman who dies in a section of town that was accidentally zoned out of both city and county morgue service, and the ridiculous lengths the family has to go through to get the body buried. A good one for those planning on reading only a handful of Cheever stories.
Sep 25, 2010 12:16PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 499 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Music Teacher," a surprisingly creepy story about how a middle-aged man's sudden interest in learning the piano may or may not be part of a convoluted plot to drive his wife insane.
Sep 22, 2010 10:56AM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 477 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Golden Age," a surprisingly Jamesian story about a staff writer for "Leave It To Beaver" who quits his job in disgust, but can find little emotional comfort at the literal medieval castle in rural Italy he has fled to with his family.
Sep 20, 2010 11:45AM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 456 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "Just Tell Me Who It Was." Jealousy is always an ugly, but of course here reaches a point of ridiculous beauty in Cheever's hands.
Sep 17, 2010 10:54AM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 437 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Scarlet Moving Van," an unusually good treatment of a common Cheever theme (suburban alcoholic husband is a complete monster to everyone around him when drunk). That final image, of him alone with a broken hip in the middle of an otherwise empty subdivision, is priceless.
Sep 16, 2010 08:51AM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 425 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Duchess," yet another unusual character study set in Rome (or unusual for Cheever, anyway), this one about an Italian noble who marries a blue-collar Brit, and the changing fate of the family from the 1930s through '50s.
Sep 15, 2010 01:24PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 384 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Bella Lingua," a rambling but interesting story about the different ways a group of Americans react to spending time in 1950s Rome, a tale with a grander scope than Cheever's usual work.
Sep 13, 2010 02:37PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 358 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Worm in the Apple." "What's that? My New Yorker deadline is tomorrow, and I have to turn in SOME pointless piece of crap to get my money for my sweet, sweet liquor? Okay, how 'bout this?"
Sep 10, 2010 12:45PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 338 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Housebreaker of Shady Hill," a fascinating story about a man who resorts to petty theft against his neighbors rather than inform his family that they can no longer afford their upper-middle-class lifestyle. It's like all of Cheever's themes (class struggle, hidden secrets, crimes against society) all wrapped up in a big dark metaphor.
Sep 09, 2010 11:28AM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 294 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Five-Forty-Eight," an interesting little story about a corporate douchebag who has an affair with his secretary and then fires her, just to eventually REALLY, REALLY REGRET IT.
Sep 07, 2010 11:11AM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 259 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "O Youth and Beauty!" One of the best opening paragraphs in the history of short fiction, and a story that makes the seventeen in this collection before it look like mere warm-up exercises. Absolutely one of the stories to read if you're only going to read a handful of Cheever stories.
Sep 06, 2010 06:47PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 234 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Children," one of the more interesting stories of the collection so far, in which a young put-upon couple (surprise surprise) end up spending some time in a crazy old woman's "Sunset Boulevard" style dilapidated mansion.
Sep 04, 2010 05:24PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 209 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Superintendent," which fits in yet another of Cheever's running themes - day-in-the-life stories among service staffs in Manhattan apartment buildings - this one looking at a family the moment in the '50s economic boom that their income level changes in society's eyes from upper class to middle class.
Sep 03, 2010 02:02PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 183 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Chaste Clarissa" -- a.k.a., "How To Bed A Good-Looking MILF By Pretending She's Intelligent When No One Else Will." Ah, Cheever, always the romantic.
Sep 02, 2010 02:54PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 151 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "Clancy in the Tower of Babel." And thus begins the grand Cheever tradition of self-hating homophobia, starting here in 1951 and lasting almost to his death.
Sep 01, 2010 03:47PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 105 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
This tale of a city family pathetically trying to "get back to nature" could literally be reset to now, among the "hipster hillbillies" of lower Wisconsin or upper New York, without changing a word. Plus more violence against animals! And more shrill older women with drinking problems! God bless ya, Cheever!
Aug 30, 2010 09:57AM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 76 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Hartleys." I smell a girl with daddy issues, who would've faced years of therapy and a string of pissed-off suitors, if she hadn't in fact died from a freak accident while on vacation. Sheesh, no wonder "Mad Men" references Cheever so much!
Aug 26, 2010 12:26PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 67 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "O City of Broken Dreams." Ha ha! Earnest yokels move to New York to pursue creative dream, are fleeced out of every freaking penny they own! Ha ha! Stupid yokels! HA HA HA HA!
Aug 25, 2010 03:56PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 48 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Enormous Radio." Wow, magical-realism from John Cheever in the late 1940s! Granted, the story itself is a little too obvious and on-the-nose, but it's pretty amazing that he was pulling this off in an academic environment a good 20 years before it became popular.
Aug 24, 2010 07:15PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 37 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "The Common Day." Only two stories in, and I'm already seeing a Cheever theme - shrill alcoholic matriarchs who can barely stand their own offspring, that is. Also, strange to hear a housewife seriously cite the possibility of World War 3 as a reason to leave New York and move to the countryside.
Aug 23, 2010 01:56PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is on page 23 of 693 of The Stories of John Cheever
Just finished "Goodbye, My Brother." Sheesh, no wonder Cheever's work caught on so quickly; the multiple interlocking levels of dysfunction on display here are ASTOUNDING, plus with a shockingly violent surprise ending that's most decidedly non-academic in nature.
Aug 22, 2010 03:33PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is starting The Stories of John Cheever
I'm reading one Cheever story a day for the next two months, and have decided to comment on them here at GR in real time.
Aug 22, 2010 03:30PM Add a comment
The Stories of John Cheever

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is starting A Mercy
This was just announced as the fall 2010 pick of the "One Book One Chicago" program. I've got my copy; how about you?
Aug 05, 2010 06:49AM Add a comment
A Mercy

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is starting The Dervish House
All right - my advanced copy of the latest by third-world cyberpunk author Ian McDonald arrived today! It's set in day-after-tomorrow Turkey, which I've been studying this year, so I'm really looking forward to this one.
Jun 18, 2010 07:33PM Add a comment
The Dervish House

Jason Pettus
Jason Pettus is starting Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling
I heard a lively interview with this book's author recently on PRI's "The World in Words," which inspired me to check it out of the library.
Jun 18, 2010 07:27PM Add a comment
Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling

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