Friday, November 18, 2016

Collected Stories by John Cheever

Like a kaleidoscope running through suburban America of mid 20th century. Like Revolutionary Road, or Rabbit Run or Updike’s stories. What is described as the American way of life. Interesting stories, but dysfunctional families. Most stories have the man going out to work on the morning train, and wives at home, their suburban lives, them picking up their husbands from the station in the evening. Their lives not happy. But the stories do not showcase angst the way Yates did, these stories are more matter of fact.

I took my time reading this 900 page tome - a couple of months. 50 stories or so. One can read them for the description. Or read them as good stories, short, contained, well sketched out characters, straight narrative. Or read them to get transported to the place where the author places the story and empathize with the characters. Do not read seeking epiphany.

Not sure whether I’ll read any more of Cheever in the near future.Even though well written and enjoyable, somehow, they leave me with an unhappy aftertaste. They leave me with some unease, some sort of discomfort, wondering how much of ourselves do we lose in the humdrum of everyday. And that for some, the humdrum becomes the mainstay! (And when this happens, there is little left in life). 

And may be that is where the author succeeds - creating that discomfort.  However, for the time being, pushes me away.

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