Monday, August 27, 2018

John Cheever

Next on my list: The Journals of John Cheever.



Dustin Illingworth, writing for the Paris Review.

Cheever is a member of that rare group—Witold Gombrowicz, Ana├»s Nin, perhaps Franz Kafka—whose private diaries comprise their finest writing. The route to Cheever’s journals is almost always a circuitous one – first one reads his exquisite stories, some of the finest ever written, followed by his largely disappointing novels, his voluminous correspondence, the memoir by his daughter Susan. One comes to the journals, then, ready for something safe and genial and above all expected, the improvisations of a suburban mystic. How thrilling to discover instead this offhand, extemporizing masterpiece, a storehouse of incomparable lyricism—no one writes light or water or fire better than Cheever—commingled with the greatest index of shame in American letters.

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