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Cheever: A Life (Vintage)

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Cheever: A Life (Vintage) Cover

ISBN13: 9781400079681
ISBN10: 1400079683
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the acclaimed author of A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates comes the unforgettable life of John Cheever (1912-1982), a man who spent much of his career impersonating a perfect suburban gentleman, the better to become one of the foremost chroniclers of postwar America.

"I was born into no true class," Cheever mused in his journal, "and it was my decision, early in life, to insinuate myself into the middle class, like a spy, so that I would have an advantageous position of attack, but I seem now and then to have forgotten my mission and to have taken my disguises too seriously."

Written with unprecedented access to essential sources — including Cheever's massive journal, only a fraction of which has ever been published — Blake Bailey's biography reveals the troubled but strangely lovable man behind the disguises, an artist who delighted in the everyday radiance of the world while yearning, above all, to be illustrious.

Cheever's was a soul in conflict: he was a proud Yankee who flaunted his lineage while deploring the provincialism of his Quincy, Massachusetts, family circle; a high-school dropout who published his first story at eighteen; a pioneer of suburban realist fiction who continually pushed the boundaries of realism; a dire alcoholic who recovered to write the great novel Falconer; a secret bisexual who struggled with his longings and his fierce homophobia in a revolving door of self-loathing and hedonism. We see a man who concealed his anxieties behind the mask of a genial Westchester squire — a paterfamilias in Brooks Brothers clothes whose world was peopled by legendary writers and beautiful women (Malcolm Cowley, Saul Bellow, William Maxwell, Hope Lange, and John Updike, among them); whose groundbreaking work landed him on the covers of Time and Newsweek; a man whose demons and desperation were never quite vanquished by the joy he found in his work.

Blake Bailey has written a luminous biography, a revelation of a writer of timeless fiction and of the man behind the page.

Review:

"A biography of monumental heft . . . that certifies Cheever's enduring relevance." Vanity Fair

Review:

"A portrait of the man drawn judiciously but compellingly and in harrowing detail . . . . [a] fine biography." Time

Review:

"A triumph of thorough research and unblinkered appraisal." John Updike, The New Yorker

Synopsis:

John Cheever spent much of his career impersonating a perfect suburban gentleman, the better to become one of the foremost chroniclers of postwar America. Written with unprecedented access to essential sources — including Cheever's massive journal, only a fraction of which has ever been published — Bailey's Cheever is a stunning example of the biographer's art and a brilliant tribute to an essential author.

About the Author

Blake Bailey is the editor of a two-volume edition of Cheever's work, forthcoming from the Library of America. His last book, A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005, and his articles and reviews have appeared in Slate, The New York Times, The New York Observer, and elsewhere. He lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

folkrrtt, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by folkrrtt)
Bailey's book offers an honest view of a man who was long hidden behind the mask of suburbia. Cheever was as complex and unforgiving as the characters in his works. Bailey has given us the man, his shortcomings and gifts. A great read!
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betsy o'gara, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by betsy o'gara)
Love love love this book! John Cheever was a hot mess but such a talented man!
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400079681
Author:
Bailey, Blake
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Subject:
biography;literary biography;non-fiction;literature
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage
Publication Date:
20100331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
816
Dimensions:
8 x 5.15 x 1.65 in 1.6 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Cheever: A Life (Vintage) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.50 In Stock
Product details 816 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9781400079681 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A biography of monumental heft . . . that certifies Cheever's enduring relevance."
"Review" by , "A portrait of the man drawn judiciously but compellingly and in harrowing detail . . . . [a] fine biography."
"Review" by , "A triumph of thorough research and unblinkered appraisal."
"Synopsis" by , John Cheever spent much of his career impersonating a perfect suburban gentleman, the better to become one of the foremost chroniclers of postwar America. Written with unprecedented access to essential sources — including Cheever's massive journal, only a fraction of which has ever been published — Bailey's Cheever is a stunning example of the biographer's art and a brilliant tribute to an essential author.
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