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“Cheever: A Life”

Cheever: A LifeEven if you’ve never read much by John Cheever, you’ve probably heard his story (or a story like his): A moderately successful and critically-acclaimed author spends his life struggling with alcoholism, suburban conformity, and feelings of homosexuality and self-loathing. But Blake Bailey—-a writer who has previously chronicled the life of Richard Yates—puts Cheever’s tortured contemporary existence to paper in what the New Yorker calls “a triumph of thorough research and unblinkered appraisal.” Bailey had full access to Cheever’s journals, as well as the full cooperation of Cheever’s wife and family, in preparing this biography. The result is a detailed account of the “prickly dynamic” of Cheever’s contradictory life. Of course, the intimate level of detail on display here leads Publishers Weekly to describe the nearly 800-page-long tome as “an overlong but always entertaining biography,” which certainly feels appropriate, given that Cheever might have chosen those same words to describe his own life.

View at Amazon: “Cheever: A Life”.

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