Books: The Ghosts of Chicsville

THE WAPSHOT SCANDAL by John Cheever. 309 pages. Harper & Row. $4.95.

In his second novel, John Cheever has substantially raised his bid to establish the Wapshots of St. Botolphs, Mass., among the First Families of U.S. literature.

One of the most curious and original writers in the U.S. today, John Cheever continues to be underestimated. The Wapshot Chronicle received the National Book Award. But Cheever is neither chic nor shocking, and no critical claque inflates his reputation. He is neither politically opinionated nor a Freudian, and the sex he celebrates is freakishly normal,...

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