Posts Tagged: john cheever

Nothing New Under the Billboard

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With its clean, careful shots and enigmatic plot resolutions, Mad Men tends to inhabit a liminal narrative space, as if the same rules of decorum that govern its romanticized 60s society extend their authority to the show’s refined formal characteristics. This aversion to definitive conclusion is no accident: writing for Salon, Rebecca Makkai examines how the series recalls John Cheever’s iconic short fiction, which creator Matthew Weiner has listed as an influence:

I imagined all his stories to involve a businessman who got off the evening train drunk, stood in his yard peering in through the windows of his own house, and had some sort of sad revelation…[but instead,] in each story, a small world of alienation and humor and despair, a meditation on family or work, the city or the suburbs, travel or stasis, success or failure.

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Rumpus Video Premiere & Interview with Golden Suits

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Department of Eagles’ Fred Nicolaus is obsessed with John Cheever. “I read John Cheever’s collected short stories when I was twenty, and I’ve been obsessed with them ever since,” he states. So obsessed that his brand new solo project, Golden Suits, takes its name from a Cheever reference, and this brand new video was an experiment inspired by Cheever’s story “The Swimmer.”

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Larry Fahey: The Last Book I Loved, Bullet Park

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I should say at the outset that while Bullet Park is a good book, and in my opinion a great book, it is not a sound book.

Cheever is rightly (though myopically) criticized for never having really solved the novel, and most of the five he wrote, including both Bullet Park and even the one generally considered his best, Falconer, show his struggle plainly: He was a peerless short story writer, and when he takes on the novel it’s a bit like a baseball player who never really learned how to swing a golf club.

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