Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

John Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey

Outwardly, John Cheever was a man with all the trappings of the contented suburban squire — the wife and children, the big house with broad lawns, the lustrous dogs, even the tweed jackets. But the great American writer and chronicler of all things Waspy was also secretly bisexual, for many years severely alcoholic and prone to chronic self-loathing — he felt himself an impostor in every way. By the time of his death, in 1982, Cheever had made peace with himself, but from Blake Bailey's beautifully crafted biography, you understand that the radiance of his great stories made its way to us from a dark place.