His best stories compress whole lives and worlds into a few pages, such as in “The Five Forty-Eight,” where we get an acute picture both of an odious employer, who will be forced at gunpoint to pay for his sins, as well as the urban life that has squeezed out his humanity. Another sterling example is “The Country Husband,” which is basically about a man who has sacrificed everything for the good life and then finds himself trapped in it. It’s the texture of his very routine neighborhood that Cheever is really after, though; the startling details as well as the ordinary but funny ones, like the wandering child who never goes home or the dog who steals steaks from outdoor grills, all of which are woven into a truly magical ending.
by Rodney Welch
That is something everyone has to decide for themselves. But maybe the more critical question we need to ask is: Can an artist produce an honest piece of work without being an honest person? It seems that the guy who writes the popular love songs is always the same guy who has been married seven times. Does that matter? Does that make the song, the story, the painting any less brilliant? Do we need to accept the fact that there are no perfect people? And that imperfect people can produce near-perfect works of art?
by Michael Heaton