Being able to more fully embrace Europe is one of the reasons I am leaving Southeast Asia. Obviously there are a lot of positives.
We are going to visit the stone-ended Dutch Colonial she lived in as a teenager, a house her year-old mother, Mary, still miraculously inhabits. Susan, who is 65, begins our journey with the slightly ragged air of one who has packed for a long trip a little too fast; her ultimate destination is Bennington College, Vermont, where she teaches non-fiction writing.
But this doesn't last long. Barely have we left the city than I notice that her face is suffused with a warm, proprietorial glow. Rather to my amazement, she is enjoying our talk, which is all about her father, John Cheeverthe great American writer.
I had expected it to be painful. I have this weird family worship. This beautiful building that is now the ugliest place on earth. It's like the House of Usher. How could she not be? John Cheever died inat the height of his fame as the bestselling, Pulitzer prize-winning author of five novels and some of the most brilliant short stories ever published.
But in the years after his death a stream of revelations about his life poured into the public domain, muddying the blue-bright waters of his legacy with distressing efficiency. His life has been nothing if not picked over.
Susan came first, with her memoir, Home Before Darkwritten to disable the bomb of an unauthorised biography. The book confessed the extent of her father's alcoholism, and gently noted his bisexuality; in the last years of his life, she wrote, he had found love, of a kind, with a young man she called Rip.
Next came a volume of Cheever's letters, edited by Susan's brother, Benjamin, who wrote in his introduction of how difficult it had been to discover the extent of his father's homosexuality, and then coolly thanked the composer Ned Rorem for revealing that "for my father, orgasm was always accompanied by a vision of sunshine, or flowers".
Finally, inCheever's journals, which run to some 4 million words, were auctioned by the family, and extracts published in the New Yorker, and in a single volume. The journals contain some of the best sentences Cheever ever wrote, but, my God, they are horrifying.
The pain, the loneliness, the secrecy, the shame: Cheever, an imposter in his own life, turned self-loathing into an art form. Was ever a man's outward appearance so at odds with his inward condition?
His friend John Updike thought not, and shook his head sadly at this psychic chasm, hoping against hope that Cheever's fiction, with its startling glimmers of optimism, its sense always of moving towards the light, would somehow prevail.
Now, nearly two decades on, there is Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey, previously the biographer of another suburban drunk, Richard Yates a coincidence: Bailey's book is almost pages long, and so tirelessly detailed, even Cheever's children have found surprises within its tidy bulk.
That took about an hour. Then I read it from the beginning. It sounds narcissistic to say so but I found it fascinating. My memory only kicked in when he came home from the war.
And then, I didn't know how much gay activity there'd been…" Susan loves the book; she thinks Bailey's version of her father is truthful and unflinching, and that it captures him in some essential way. But she wonders about its diminuendo ending: He writes what I think is his best book [Falconer, a novel about a drug addict, serving time for the murder of his brother, who has an affair with another prisoner ].
He became the man he meant to be. But there is one obvious reason for this. The sex, he tells Bailey, disgusted him.Free Essays on i m Going To Asia.
Get help with your writing. 1 through “Reunion” by John Cheever The last time I saw my father was in Grand Central Station. I was going from my grandmother's in the Adirondacks to a cottage on the Cape that my mother had rented, and I wrote my father that I would be in New York between trains for an hour and a half, and asked if we could have lunch together.
Home Essays I'M Going to Asia (Cheever) I'M Going to Asia (Cheever) Analysis “I’m Going to Asia” by John Cheever Essay The text under analysis is a sample of the emotive prose.
John Cheever tells the story of the Towle family.
The story centers around the family hearth as the war looms. The Stories of John Cheever “Your emails is my best link to understanding what is going on in the world's hot spots without the extreme typical media bias. Keep up the great work.
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It's like they have a crystal ball. I'm jealous of George Friedman's ability to. "The Swimmer" is a short story by John Cheever that was first published in “The Enormous Radio” was first published in the May 17, issue of The New Yorker and is collected in John Cheever’s The Stories of John timberdesignmag.com here for reviews of other John Cheever stories.
“The Enormous Radio” is the third piece in Cheever’s collected stories, but the first one chronologically I’m covering here.