The Stories of John Cheever

John Cheever

i only read about a third of this, since 700 pages of short stories seemed like a bit much all at once. even if i have been reading so many short story collections lately. these are set mostly in nyc, various times between the 1930s and 1950s with a range of class focuses. Cheever has exciting insights into his characters. i loved the slightly Twilight Zone feel to “The Enormous Radio” and the impressively epic “The Day the Pig Fell Into the Well.”

the repeated references to old-fashioneds prompted me to order one one night, and the bartender had to look it up in a book and follow the recipe. the problem with ordering drinks like that is that the bartender assumes that you’re an expert, and i was too embarrassed to admit that i’d never had one before and had no clue if it was good or bad, or how i only ordered it because i’d been reading John Cheever stories lately. you never can tell if that sort of thing is going to go over in a way that doesn’t make you seem like a total dork, the uncharming kind. (it was good though, even if it wasn’t a good old-fashioned.)