The Letters of John Cheever

John Cheever, Author Simon & Schuster $19.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-62873-4
John Cheever's letters aren't great literaturethey weren't meant to bebut his unmistakable voice comes through on every page. Bristling with his sardonic wit and ``rock-bottom irritability,'' they reveal a man of dark contradictions: an ardent heterosexual in public, Cheever despised his own secret bisexuality; he scorned the upper-middle class but desperately needed its approval. Letters track a romantic affair with actress Hope Lange, a competitive friendship with John Updike and dialogues with Saul Bellow, Josephine Herbst, Malcolm Cowley, Frederick Exley and Philip Roth. In the late 1960s, Cheever's merry, heavy-drinking attitude swiftly turned into family tragedy. Benjamin Cheever, the novelist's son, interweaves affectionate commentaries with the letters, telling what it was like to be reared by a famous writer who was an alcoholic. In the most affecting letters, every word is in place as Cheever paints a real-life character, comments on contemporary fiction or lays bare his frustrations. We follow the writer from a $3-a-week Greenwich Village room to the wilds of Westchester, N.Y. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 397 pages - 978-1-4391-6464-8
Paperback - 397 pages - 978-0-09-952964-4
Open Ebook - 416 pages - 978-1-4090-9028-1
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