Cheever: A Life
John Cheever spent much of his career impersonating a perfect suburban gentleman, the better to become one of the foremost chroniclers of postwar America. Written with unprecedented access to essential sources--including Cheever's massive journal, only a fraction of which has ever been published--Bailey's "Cheever" is a stunning example of the biographer's art and a brilliant tribute to an essential author.
A "New York Times "Notable Book and a "Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Time, Christian Science Monitor, Slate, Arizona Republic, " and "Kansas City Star" Best Book of the Year "A triumph of thorough research and unblinkered appraisal."--John Updike, "The New Yorker" "A definitive, Dickensian rendering of a complete and complicated life, addictively readable and long overdue."--Bret Anthony Johnston, "The New York Times" "Beautifully woven, deeply researched, and delightfully free of isms. . . . Here's Cheever at the center of the storm."--Susan Salter Reynolds, "Los Angeles Times" "Fascinating. . . . Bailey counter[s] both his subject's soaring enthusiasms and paranoid forebodings with clear-eyed judgment."--David Propson, "The Wall Street Journal" "Mesmerizing. . . . Every inch the record that Cheever deserves. . . . [Bailey] gives us remarkable access to one of the greatest writers of his time."--Vince Passaro, "O, the Oprah Magazine" "So wise and serious, so human an account. . . . Even more eloquent and resourceful than Bailey's celebrated biography of Richard Yates."--Geoffrey Wolff, "The New York Times Book Review" "Sympathetic and deeply engaging. . . . This book is also a portrait of the twentieth century."--Jacob Molyneux, "San Francisco Chronicle" "[Bailey's] life of Cheever is an impressive, even a beautiful, achievement."--Algis Valiunas, "Commentary" "[An] expansive, wonderfully written biography. . . . Unstinting. . . . Bracing. . . . To read Bailey on Cheever is to arrive at a much fuller appreciation of a deeply gifted chronicler of American life."--Matt Shaer, "Christian Science Monitor" "A portrait of the man drawn judiciously but compellingly and in harrowing detail . . . . [A] fine biography."--Richard Lacayo, "Time " "Elegant. . . An insightful, clear-eyed life of the man."--"The Economist"
Blake Bailey is the editor of a two-volume edition of Cheever's work, published in 2009 by The Library of America. His last book, "A Tragic Honesty, " was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2005, and his articles and reviews have appeared in "Slate, ""The New York Times, "the "New York Observer, " and elsewhere. He lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter.