“The Stories of John Cheever” – a review

I’m reading an interesting collection of short stories, The Stories of John Cheever, by, of course, John Cheever. The book is a used, huge hardcover that I bought for ten pesos (less than $1.00) here in Mexico—694 pages of 61 short stories (if I’ve counted correctly). It’s an old book, published in 1978. Individual stories were published between 1946 and 1975, some in “The New Yorker,” “Playboy” magazine, “Esquire,” and the “Saturday Evening Post.” This book won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Cheever, who was born in 1912 and died in 1982, lived an interesting life. After reading a few of the stories, I felt possessed to Google him. I had heard his name, but, to be honest, knew nothing of him. I won’t get into his life; if you’re interested, you can Google him, too.

The stories are dated, reminding me of gold shag carpeting and avocado-coloured appliances (yes, I had both). I’m still reading the book, but it’s not been a chore doing so. I was even a bit sad when a couple of the stories ended, perhaps a bit too abruptly, just when I became involved in the characters.

My favourite thus far is “The Enormous Radio.” Wow! What a story. “The Season of Divorce”—well, we can all relate to that one; timeless, but perhaps not a modern day ending. “The Hartley’s” was just too sad, with an unexpected ending. There’s kind of a moral in “Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor.”

No doubt I will finish the book before we leave for home. Despite that, and its size and weight, I’m still cramming it, along with a few others, in my suitcase. I just pray I won’t be overweight.

This is a book I want displayed in my library at home.


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