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John Cheever Biography

(1912–82), The Way Some People Live: A Book of Stories

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American novelist and short-story writer, born in Quincy, Massachusetts, educated at Thayer Academy, his expulsion from which became the subject of his earliest works. As well as producing a rich stream of books, he also taught creative writing at several colleges including Boston University. Cheever's short stories satirized New England suburban life with a sharply observant eye. These appeared in several volumes, including The Way Some People Live: A Book of Stories (1943), The Enormous Radio and Other Stories (1943), The House-breaker of Shady Hill and Other Stories (1958), Some People, Places and Things That Will Not Appear in My Next Novel (1961), The Brigadier and the Golf Widow (1964), and The World of Apples (1973). This manner also shaped the two-novel sequence The Wapshot Chronicle (1957) and The Wapshot Scandal (1964), which tells of the decline of a once wealthy family in a small New England town. Through the narration of the adventures of two itinerant sons as they seek employment, the novels explore the conspicuous wealth and brashness of American life. In a similar social context, Bullet Park (1969) tells of the struggle between two men, Hammer and Nailes, in an environment of wealth and envy. The uncharacteristic Falconer (1977) is the taut tale of the ex-academic Farragut's prison life as he attempts to assemble some meaning in his existence. Cheever's other fiction works include Oh, What a Paradise It Seems (1982), a novel; and The Stories of John Cheever (1978), which was acclaimed by both critics and public, winning a Pulitzer Prize and several other awards. Although a minor scandal accompanied the posthumous publication of his letters and journals, his reputation as an important figure should remain unscathed.

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