John Cheever was an American novelist and short story writer, sometimes called 'the Chekhov of the suburbs'. His fiction is mostly set in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the Westchester suburbs, and old New England villages based on various South Shore towns around Quincy, Massachusetts, where he was born. Cheever is recognized for his ability to capture the complexities of his characters' inner lives, and his work is known for its portrayal of the duality of human nature, often focusing on themes of sin, redemption, and the search for meaning. His most famous works include 'The Swimmer' and the novels 'The Wapshot Chronicle' and 'Falconer'. He won the National Book Award for 'The Wapshot Chronicle' and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his collection 'The Stories of John Cheever'.
This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.
This collection of short stories provides an intimate look into the lives of individuals living in the American suburbs during the mid-20th century. The narratives often center around themes of love, loss, and the pursuit of the American dream, painting a vivid picture of the human condition. The characters are typically middle-class individuals dealing with personal crises, existential dread, and the often harsh realities of everyday life. The stories are renowned for their ability to capture the essence of post-war America, with all of its beauty, despair, and complexity.
"The Wapshot Chronicle" is a novel that explores the lives of the eccentric Wapshot family, who live in a quaint New England village. The story primarily focuses on the experiences of Leander Wapshot, the patriarch, and his two sons, Moses and Coverly, as they navigate through life's challenges. While Leander grapples with his advancing age and nostalgia, his sons are sent to find their own paths, dealing with their sexual identities, love, and their place in the world. This narrative is a blend of humor, tragedy, and family dynamics, showcasing the complexities of life and human nature.
The novel follows the story of a man named Ezekiel Farragut, a university professor and drug addict who is serving time in Falconer State Prison for the murder of his brother. Through his experiences and interactions with other inmates, Farragut grapples with guilt, addiction, and the human condition, ultimately leading to his escape and a chance at redemption. The narrative explores themes of freedom, identity, and the complexities of familial relationships.
4. Bullet Park
The novel is a darkly satirical portrayal of suburban life in mid-20th century America, focusing on two families living in the affluent community of Bullet Park. The narrative delves into the seemingly idyllic lives of these residents, revealing the underlying malaise and existential crises that plague them. Central to the story is the existential struggle of Eliot Nailles, a devoted father and chemist, who confronts the nihilistic plans of Paul Hammer, a disturbed man who has recently moved to town. The book examines themes of spiritual emptiness, the search for meaning, and the contrast between the veneer of suburban tranquility and the chaotic undercurrents that lie beneath.