I've read a couple of other Cheevers, Falconer and Bullet Park. Falconer didn't really hold my interest, and Bullet Park was absolutely sublime until the second half, when it all got a little odd. I could tell, though, that this was a definitely a writer capable of writing a book that I'd think was fantastic. And, at the third attempt at trying, The Wapshot Chronicle is it.
A joyous, messy, loving novel, full of warm normal characters, and quirky eccentric ones. It's great fun to read. The scenes are written perfectly - the scene where elderly Aunt Honora Wapshot receives her post, throws it straight on the fire, clocks the baffled look on her maid's face, then dodders recalcitrantly into town sad at the fact that no one understands her, is particularly pristine. The whole book is warm, full of love, full of beauty, and the style is truly alive (the only parts I didn't enjoy - at all - were Leander Wapshot's diary entries, written in an idiolect that I found so annoying I ended up skipping them - but they're not that extensive). A wonderful family narrative, full of the zany behaviours we all recognise from our own families, I suspect. I bought the sequel straight away.