He is, if posthumous publications are any evidence. This month sees the appearance of a massive new biography, the first in 20 years and also the first to make extensive use of his journals and letters, which document his struggles with alcoholism, depression and bisexuality. Concurrently, the Library of America is publishing two volumes of Cheever’s work, one for his five novels and one that gathers the 61 stories in the 1978 collection, a handful of essays and selections from his earliest work, including his first published story, “Expelled,” written when he was 18. The Library of America is about as close as we get to a canon of great American literature these days, so three decades after he died, at 70 in 1982, Cheever is getting the Rushmore treatment.
Similarly, “Mad Men,” the hit television series about ’60s advertising, casts domestic life in such a Cheever-esque light that it should be paying royalties to the author’s estate.
Cheever is and is not a great writer.
‘Mad Men’ is hot. So is Richard Yates. Where are the Cheever believers?
By Malcolm Jones | NEWSWEEK
Published Feb 28, 2009