Classy, intelligent, unstuffy stuff.,
This review is from: Bullet Park [LegacyTitleID: 425351]
Actually, my choice of this was based upon Cheever's reputation as an excellent short story writer and I would have preferred a collection of his shorter pieces if it had been available as an audio title. It currently isn't. This novel has the polished economy and precision one might anticipate from a master short story writer. It's a beautifully crafted, perfectly paced tale which never flags and constantly engages with it's witty, subtle evocation of place and character.
Although a serious 'literary' novel about suburbia on the Eastern seaboard of America in the late 60's, (it was published in 1969) there's nothing 'worthy' or hard work about this encapsulation of the state of the nation. The realism is rich and engaging. It delightfully surprises as we follow narratives illuminating the interior lives of the small cast of characters; a progress full of the unexpected. There's a certain enchantment involved in Cheever's brand of realism.
The entertainment is never at the expense of cogent, convincing depiction, however. Cheever's analysis is sensitive but unsentimental. The balance between the spiritual and the pragmatic is particularly well observed. Beneath the existential mundanity an interior wealth is revealed without a trace of corniness. The observational tone is wry, poetic and ultimately sympathetic.
This is insightful storytelling shot through with dark, alcoholic, humour which never descends into cynicism. All is revealed in beautiful, clear prose. It's classy, intelligent, unstuffy stuff, indeed.
I can't wait for the short story collection to be published as audio book; particularly if narrated by the chap who did this one. A five star performance all-round.