Book Notification

John Cheever Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Wapshot Books

The Wapshot Chronicle (1957)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Wapshot Scandal (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Bullet Park (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
The World of Apples (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Falconer (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Leaves, The Lion Fish, and The Bear (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
Oh What a Paradise It Seems (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
Angel of Bridge (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

The Way Some People Live (1943)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Enormous Radio (1953)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Housebreaker Of Shady Hill (1958)Description / Buy at Amazon
Some People, Places, And Things That Will Not Appear In My Next Novel (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Brigadier and the Golf Widow (1964)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Stories of John Cheever (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
Collected Stories and Other Writings (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Uncollected Stories Of John Cheever, 1930 1981 (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
The John Cheever Audio Collection (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vintage Cheever (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Thirteen Uncollected Stories (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fall River and Other Uncollected Stories (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Collected Works (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Drinking (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Vision of the World (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

The Letters of John Cheever (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Conversations with John Cheever (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Journals of John Cheever (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Glad Tidings (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Contemporary Literature and the Life of Faith Books

Listening for God Reader, Vol. 1 (By: Flannery O'Connor,Raymond Carver,Alice Walker,Garrison Keillor,Annie Dillard,Richard Rodríguez,Patricia Hampl,Peter Hawkins,Frederick Buechner,Paula J. Carlson,Peter S. Hawkins) (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Listening for God, Vol. 2 (By: Anne Tyler,John Updike,Tobias Wolff,Gail Godwin,Henry Louis Gates Jr.,Kathleen Norris,Paula J. Carlson,Peter S. Hawkins,Carol Bly,Andrew Dubus) (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Listening for God, Vol. 3 (With: Tillie Olsen,Wendell Berry,Louise Erdrich,Mary Gordon,Tess Gallagher,Reynolds Price,Oscar Hijuelos,Paula J. Carlson,Peter S. Hawkins) (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Listening For God, Vol. 4 (By: Robert Olen Butler,Allegra Goodman,James Baldwin,Kent Haruf,SueMiller,Doris Betts,Paula J. Carlson,Peter S. Hawkins,MichaelMalone,Alice Elliot Dark) (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Short Story Masterpieces: 35 Classic American and British Stories from the First Half of the 20th Century(1954)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stories(1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
Points of View(1956)Description / Buy at Amazon
50 Great American Short Stories(1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
Masks(1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Prize Stories 1973: The O. Henry Awards(1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
Magical Realist Fiction(1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Short Story: 30 Masterpieces(1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
First Fiction: An Anthology of the First Published Stories by Famous Writers(1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Our Mothers' Spirits: Great Writers on the Death of Mothers and the Grief of Men(1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Writing New York(1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wonderful Town(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Listening for God, Vol. 3(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Short Stories of the Century(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Secret Ingredients(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The New Granta Book of the American Short Story(2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stories to Get You Through the Night(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Round the Christmas Fire(2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

John Cheever
John Cheever was born May 27, 1912 in Quincy, Massachusetts, and was the second child of Mary Liley Cheever and Frederick Lincoln Cheever. His dad was a prosperous shoe salesman, and Cheever spent most of his childhood in a large Victorian house, at 123 Winthrop Avenue.

In 1926, John started attending Thayer Academy, a private day school, however he found the atmosphere stifling and performed poorly, and transferred to Quincy High in 1928.

One year later, he won a short story contest that was sponsored by the Boston Herald and was invited back to Thayer as a “special student” on academic probation. However his grades continued being poor, and, in March of 1930, he either got expelled for smoking or (more likely) departed on his own accord when the headmaster delivered an ultimatum to him to the effect that he had to apply himself or leave. Eighteen year old Cheever wrote a sardonic account of this experience, which was called “Expelled”, and was published in The New Republic.

In 1933, he wrote to Elizabeth Ames, who was the director of the Yaddo artist’s colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. She denied the first application he submitted, however offered him a place the next year, whereupon he decided to sever his “ungainly attachment” to his brother. He then spent the summer of 1934 at Yaddo, which ended up serving as a second home for much of his life.

In 1935, Katharine White of The New Yorker bought “Buffalo” for $45, and it was the first of many that Cheever wound up publishing in the magazine. Maxim Lieber was hired to be his literary agent, from 1935 until 1941.

He met Mary Winternitz, his future wife, who was seven years younger than him. They married in the year 1941. They had three children together, Benjamin, Susan, and Frederico. Benjamin and Susan each became writers.

His marriage to Mary was complicated due to his sexuality, being described as bisexual or homosexual, he had relationships with both women and men, including a short relationship with Ned Rorem (a composer) and an affair with actress Hope Lange. His longest affair was with a student named Max Zimmer, who lived in the Cheever family home.

On May 7, 1942, Cheever enlisted in the Army. In 1943, “The Way Some People Live”, a short story collection, was published to mixed reviews. Cheever came to despise the book as being embarrassingly immature, and for the rest of his life he destroyed every single copy that he was able to lay his hands on.

But the book might’ve saved his life after it fell into the hands of an MGM executive and officer in the Army Signal Corps, named Major Leonard Spigelgass, who was struck by Cheever’s childlike wonder. Early that summer he got transferred to the old Paramount Studio in Astoria, Queens, where he commuted via the subway from his apartment in Chelsea, Manhattan. Most of his former infantry company got killed on a Normandy beach during the D-Day invasion.

Cheever and the family, after the war, moved to an apartment at East 59th Street. And each morning for the next five years, he’d dress in his only suit and take the elevator to this maid’s room down in the basement, where he stripped down to only his boxers and wrote until lunch.

Cheever’s work started getting longer and more complex, apparently as a protest against the “slice of life” fiction that was typical of The New Yorker during those years. Largely on the strength of “The Day the Pig Fell into the Well” and “Goodbye, My Brother” (still in manuscript form at the time), he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

“The Wapshot Chronicle” won the National Book Award in 1958. “The Wapshot Scandal” received a William Dean Howells Medal in 1965. “The Stories of John Cheever” won a National Book Critics Circle Award and the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the first paperback edition won a 1981 National Book Award. In 1982, he was awarded the National Medal for Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

John’s fiction is primarily set in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, old New England villages based off various South Shore towns around Quincy, Massachusetts, and the suburbs of Westchester, New York. He was sometimes called “the Ovid of Ossining” or “the Chekhov of the suburbs”.

John’s main themes include the duality of human nature: which were sometimes dramatized as the disparity between a character’s inner corruption and their decorous social persona, and sometimes as a conflict between two different characters (typically brothers) that embody the salient aspects of both spirit and flesh, dark and light. Many of Cheever’s works also express a nostalgia for a disappearing way of life, characterized by abiding cultural traditions and a profound sense of community, as opposed to the alienating nomadism of modern suburbia.

“The Swimmer” was adapted into a movie that starred Burt Lancaster and Joan Rivers, and was released in 1966. Cheever was a frequent visitor to the set of the movie, and makes a cameo appearance in the film.

During the summer of 1981, a tumor was found in Cheever’s right lung, and, in late November, he went back to the hospital and learned that the cancer had spread to his bladder, femur, and pelvis. He died on June 18, 1982, and the flags in Ossining were lowered to half staff for ten days.

“The World of Apples” is a stand alone novel and was released in 1973. A worn out poet finds peace in his own heart while laying his Lermontov medal at the foot of a sacred angel. A guileless and romantic well digger, who is anxious for a bride, goes to visit Russia, falls in love and comes back home and sings the unreality blues.

A prosperous suburbanite contemplates his predicament when his wife joins a nude show’s cast. And a miserably married guy fantasizes about a beautiful lover that comes to him for strength, counsel, and love as he tends the charcoal grill in the backyard.

Book Series In Order » Authors » John Cheever

Leave a Reply