Wapshot Chronicle,The(CD)Lib(Unabr.) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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"Cheever's debut novel is skittish, mercurial and ringing with life" Guardian "The best introduction to Cheever's work...richly inventive and vividly told" New York Times Magazine "A tapestry woven from the threads of emotion, tragedy, comedy...and the irony so wonderfully evident in the author's short stories...a literary mosaic...Cheever is a pleasure to read" San Francisco Chronicle "A brilliantly written novel, vastly and sometimes sadly, amusing" Time --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
John Cheever, best known for his short stories dealing with upper-middle-class suburban life, was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1912. Cheever published his first short story at the age of seventeen. He was the recipient of a 1951 Guggenheim Fellowship and winner of a National Book Award for The Wapshot Chronicle in 1958, the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Stories of John Cheever, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and an American Book Award. He died in 1982, at the age of seventy.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Wapshot Chronicle is one of those big family stories that details parts of the lives of three generations, while providing a sense of those who came before. This is a family of sea-faring New Englanders who explored the far reaches of the Pacific and also produced missionaries who served in Hawaii. If you have read James Michener's Hawaii, you will have a picture in mind that will be accurate about the Wapshot forebearers. In the current generation, there's plenty of money in the hands of eccentric, elderly Cousin Honora. She provides for her cousin Leander, his wife Sarah, and their sons, Moses and Coverly. Cousin Honora does this in the spirit of honoring the family heritage, and she is quite interested in seeing the family continue on. The book focuses in on her efforts to encourage this continuity, and what resulted.
John Cheever's greatest strength is his ability to conceive of highly original and interesting characters. In The Wapshot Chronicle, you will find two of the 20th century's most original fictional females, Cousin Honora and Justina Wapshot Molesworth Scadden. The men, by comparison, are pretty bland. They are so obsessed with their sexual desires and wanting to have a superior, independent position that they become predictably limited.
His second greatest strength is that he is able to weave a novel out of a series of short-story-like episodes that have unexpected twists and cliff-hangers near their ends. Each is a gem, and glitters shiniest with understatement. A few words, a few concepts sketch out the beginnings of a pregnant circumstance. Then, he moves on . . .Read more ›
Pity, for them.
The Wapshot Chronicle is Cheever at his best. (And to the customer who wrote that Cheever was merely a short story writer and not a novelist...absurd! In addition to this book, Bullet Park and Falconer were both brilliant novels of the first order.) This is quite simply a work of art, rich in color and textured in Cheever's unique and brilliant prose. Cheever's obvious and famous love of the language shines through on every page, with a lilting, almost musical cadence. But what he offers that so many other great writers of prose can't is his wonderful storytelling gift. No one before or since has matched Cheever's ability to marry substantive narrative and an almost poetic meter with such mesmerizing results (although lesser writers such as Updike have built long and distinguished careers trying.)
I have my well-worn copy of "Chronice" here in front of me, and I have opened two pages at random. Here is a line drawn from each page, to illustrate Cheever's soaring gift:
"What a tender thing, then, is a man.Read more ›
The novel's chain of events is set into motion one night when a car crashes into a tree near the Wapshots' house. The driver is killed, but the passenger, a girl named Rosalie, is taken inside the Wapshots' house for convalescence. It's not long before Moses and Rosalie take advantage of the intimacy of their living arrangement and engage in intercourse, unaware that Honora is eavesdropping. Shocked by this display of debauchery, Honora vows to cut the family's financial ties loose unless Moses learns some responsibility and goes out into the world to make his own way. And so he leaves St. Botolphs to go to Washington to get a job, and Coverly sneaks away from his parents to accompany him.
The two boys go their separate ways and each ends up married but in very different milieus with different sets of values. Coverly marries a poor Southern girl, becomes a technician on a rocket-launching site, and takes up residence in a homogenized modern suburb. His new life represents the modern (as of the 1950's), technical, practical, utilitarian world. It is taken even further into classic Cheeveresque territory when Coverly considers a ... relationship after his wife abandons him.
Cheever's proclivity for ironic romanticism is represented in Moses's new life, which is quite a contrast to his brother's.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The cover advertised was not the same but overall it is as promised.Published 4 months ago by Razor Man
I've got a thing for John Cheever. Surely one of the best American authors of the 20th century, Cheever has written several books that I've never stopped raving about (see the... Read morePublished on Feb. 28 2002 by asphlex
Somehow, this piffling little wifty novel won a National Book Award in 1958. The, supposedly, tragicomic story of the decline of the Wapshot family--father Leander, a ferry boat... Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2000 by Orrin C. Judd
The plots and sub-plots of the novel are great vignettes into different aspects of New England society in the early and mid parts of this century. Read morePublished on Oct. 12 2000 by Manola Sommerfeld
The two Wapshot novels ("Chronicle followed by "Scandal") are John Cheever's first two novels. Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2000 by Allen Smalling
Let it be known that I listened to this book on cassettes. It may read differently. About 2/3 of the way through, I realized that all the character and place descriptions were... Read morePublished on May 23 1999
Check this book out! It is easy to follow and the characters are interesting. It was fun to get caught up with the male Wapshots and their relationship with each other.Published on April 20 1999
Cheever is a goldsmith of words, and, if you love language, the sheer pleasure of how he puts them together is enough to carry you though this picaresque family novel. Read morePublished on Feb. 18 1999 by Andrew Rasanen
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