Home | Reviews | Blog | Daily | Glossary | Orrin's Stuff | Email

The Wapshot Chronicle ()

Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (63)

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 captain, & his sons Coverly and Moses--left me totally unmoved and uninterested.

N.B.--I'm writing this two years later (May 2000) and I've figured it out.  Cheever was a master of the short story (see Orrin's review of The Stories of John Cheever) and the panel simply rewarded a bad novel in an attempt to acknowledge him as a writer.  The book's still dreck, but it makes a little more sense that it made the list.


Grade: (D)


John Cheever Links:

    -WIKIPEDIA: John Cheever
    -FILMOGRAPHY: John Cheever (IMDB)
    -INDEX: John Cheever (The New Yorker)
-AUDIO INTERVIEW: Terkel reads from "The Swimmer" and interviews author John Cheever (Studs Terkel, 1970)
-SHORT STORY: The Swimmer (John Cheever, 7/18/1964, The New Yorker)
    -WIKIPEDIA: The Swimmer (short story)
    -ENTRY: THe Swimmer (
    -AUDIO: From the Poetry Center Archive: John Cheever reads "The Swimmer" (92nd Street Y, December 19, 1977)
-RADIO PLAY: The Swimmer (Radio Play Revival)
-STORY OF THE WEEK: The Swimmer, John Cheever (1912–1982), From John Cheever: Collected Stories & Other Writings (Library of America)
    -PODCAST: The Swimmer (Anne Enright, The New Yorker Fiction Podcast)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: THE LATE-SUMMER MELANCHOLY OF ‘THE SWIMMER’: John Cheever's story is the perfect thing to read as August nears its end (Nick Ripatrazone, 8/22//22, Gawker)
    -ESSAY: The Swimmer by John Cheever – into a suburban darkness: This classic tale has echoes of many other great stories, but stands on its own as a portrait of a disintegrating man (WB Gooderham, 31 Aug 2015, The Guardian)
But whereas Gatsby’s wilful self-deception indirectly cost him his life (his body found floating in his pool, no less), the character and fate of Ned Merrill seems closer to that of another tragic Fitzgerald hero: Tender is the Night’s Dick Diver. Both are aging lotharios whose weakness of character and drinking have estranged them from friends and family; both are financially ruined; and both suffer the arguably more tragic fate of being exiled from the kingdom they once ruled.

    -ESSAY: Weekend Short: ‘The Swimmer’ by John Cheever (LUTHER RAY ABEL, February 11, 2024, National Review)
    -ESSAY: Personal Best: The Swimmer (Michael Chabon, 9/30/96, Salon)
    -ESSAY: My Favorite Short Story: The Swimmer by John Cheever: Deep Thinking About Great Books Studied 24 Famous Short Stories in March of 2018. This One Was My Favorite (Spencer Baum, Dec 15, 2018, Medium)
    -THESIS: The Archetypal Significance of John Cheever's "The Swimmer" (Mary Reagan,Texas State University )
    -ESSAY: SWIMMING HOME WITH JOHN CHEEVER (Jennifer Makowsky, 24 April 2006, PopMatters)
    -ESSAY: “‘Swimming in Money’ and John Cheever’s ‘The Swimmer’” (David Ullrich, 24 Aug 2020, AMQ)
    -ESSAY: Damned in a fair life: Cheever's "The Swimmer." (Stanley J. Kozikowski, Summer 1993, Studies in Short Fiction)
    -ESSAY: America Has the Bends: How Cheever Used “The Swimmer” to Critique the American Dream (Kevin Hutcheson, Dec 4, 2014, Medium)
    -ESSAY: Exploration and Colonization in John Cheever’s “The Swimmer” (Interminable Ramblings)
    -ESSAY: Changing: A Short Study on John Cheever’s “Swimmer” (Yanfei Li, Jingdong Zhong*, and Yuting Lv, May 2024, Frontiers in Sustainable Development)
    -ESSAY: Allusions to "The Great Gatsby" in John Cheever's "The Swimmer" (Allen, William Rodney, Summer 1989, Studies in Short Fiction)
    -ESSAY: Coming Home: A Look at John Cheever’s “The Swimmer” (Herbert Plummer, July 26, 2019, Notebook in the Rain)
    -ESSAY: John Cheever’s “The Swimmer” and the Sorrow of the Internet (EQUITIES NEWS TEAM, JUNE 12, 2019)
    -ESSAY: Reading John Cheever’s “The Swimmer” (Charles May, Shelf Media)
    -ESSAY: Leave it to Cheever (Steve Garabino, 11/25/2001, NY Times)
    -ESSAY: Monomyth in John Cheever’s Short Fiction “The Swimmer” (Arati K Thakur, April 2015, Labyrinth: An International Refereed Journal of Postmodern Studies)
    -ESSAY: Lisbon and Hackensack in Cheever's 'The Swimmer.' (David J. Piwinski, Spring 1996, Studies in Short Fiction)
    -VIDEO LECTURE: Nightmare in Suburbs: English Prof Explains Cheever's "The Swimmer," A Modern-Day Odyssey Analysis (Dr. Whitney Kosters, 11/27/23, YouTube)
    -STUDY GUIDE: The Swimmer (Course Hero)
    -STUDY GUIDE: The Swimmer (NASRULLAH MAMBROL, OCTOBER 5, 2021, Literary Theory and Criticism)
    -STUDY GUIDE: The Swimmer (An Interpretation of "The Swimmer" by John Cheever (REBEKAH NYDAM, SEP 13, 2017, HubPages)
    -STUDY GUIDE: The Swimmer (LitCharts)
    -STUDY GUIDE: The Swimmer (A Summary and Analysis of John Cheever’s ‘The Swimmer’ (Dr Oliver Tearle, Interesting Literature)
    -STUDY GUIDE: The Swimmer (SparkNotes)
    -STUDY GUIDE: The Swimmer (Cliff Notes)
    -ESSAY: Cheever's Art of the Devantating Phrase (Brad Leithauser, 5/30/2012, The New Yorker)
    -ESSAY: The demons that drove John Cheever: John Cheever, brilliant chronicler of American suburbia led a tortured double life filled with sexual guilt, alcoholism and self-loathing. On the eve of a major new biography, Rachel Cooke travels to his beloved home in upstate New York, and meets his daughter, son and 90-year-old widow (Rachel Cooke, 17 Oct 2009, The Guardian)
The journals contain some of the best sentences Cheever ever wrote, but, my God, they are horrifying. The pain, the loneliness, the secrecy, the shame: Cheever, an imposter in his own life, turned self-loathing into an art form.

    -ESSAY: Imagining One Last Lunch with My Father, John Cheever: Benjamin Cheever Wonders How He'd Explain Donald Trump (Benjamin Cheever, June 22, 2020, LitHub)
    -ESSAY: The Pain, Hidden in Plain Sight, of John Cheever’s Darkest Work: Rick Moody on Bullet Park (Rick Moody, December 18, 2019, LitHub)
    -ESSAY: Here’s definitive proof that John Hughes was a fan of John Cheever. (Raf Richardson-Carillo, September 2, 2022, LitHub)
    -ESSAY: One great short story to read today: John Cheever’s “The Enormous Radio” (Emily Temple, May 15, 2024, LitHub)
    -PODDCAST: Christine Coulson on John Cheever and Dorothy Parker (In Conversation with Catherine Nichols, Lit Century Podcast, November 21, 2023, LitHub)
    -INTERVIEW: Emma Cline on Anaïs Nin’s Erotic Fiction and John Cheever's Journals (Book Marks, 8/11/20)
    -ESSAY: Mad Men is leaving Netflix. Time to read John Cheever. (Raf Richardson-Carillo, June 2, 2020, LitHub)
    -INTERVIEW: The Library of America interviews Blake Bailey about John Cheever (In connection with the publication in March 2009 of John Cheever: Collected Stories and Other Writings and John Cheever: Complete Novels, edited by Blake Bailey, Rich Kelley conducted this exclusive interview for The Library of America e-Newsletter) [PDF]
    -ESSAY: John Cheever's 'Housebreaker,' Welcome as Ever (JONATHAN YARDLEY, July 20, 2004, Washington Post)
    -ARCHIVES: John Cheever (LitHub)
    -ARCHIVES: John Cheever (The Guardian)
    -VIDEO ARCHIVES: “john cheever” (YouTube)
    -REVIEW: of The Swimmer (Monique, Short Story Station)
    -REVIEW: of The Stories of John Cheever (John Leonard, The New York Times)
    -REVIEW: of The Journals of John Cheever (Geoff Dyer, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey (Adam Mars-Jones, The Observer)
    -REVIEW: of Cheever: A Life (Blake Morrison, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW:‘The Swimmers’: A Long Song to Memory: Julie Otsuka’s third novel, the California Book Club selection for September, performs a rescue of what might otherwise be forgotten. (JOHN FREEMAN, SEP 13, 2022, California Book Club)


    -WIKIPEDIA: The Swiimer (1968 film)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: The Swimmer (1968) (IMDB)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: John Cheever (IMDB)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Sydney Pollack (IMDB)
    -FILMOGRAPHY: The Swimmer (Rotten Tomatoes)
    -FILM REVIEW: The Swimmer: A prophetic modernist fable set in a fading Eden (Michael Atkinson, Library of America)
    -FILM REVIEW: The Swimmer (Mitchell Beaupre, Paste)
    -FILM REVIEW: The Swimmer (Vincent Canby, NY Times)
    -FILM REVIEW: The Swimmer (Kim Newman, Empire)
    -FILM REVIEW: The Swimmer (Roger Ebert)
    -FILM REVIEW: The Swimmer (Time Out)
    -FILM REVIEW: The Swimmer (Travis Woods, Bright Lights/Dark Room)
    -BALLET REVIEW: Swimmer, SF Ballet : Wading into the current fascination with 1960s culture, "Swimmer" dives and bobs along, neither drowning in excess nor floating as a completely coherent work. (John Sullivan, Culture Vulture)

Book-related and General Links:
    -John Cheever (1912-1982)(kirjasto)
    -ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA: Your search: "john cheever"
    -Julie and Janet's Page on John Cheever
    -ESSAY: John Cheever and Indirection (Rick Moody, Conjunctions)
    -ESSAY: John Cheever: Parody and The Suburban Aesthetic (John Dyer)
    -ESSAY: PERSONAL BEST:   "  T h e   S w i m m e r  "   b y   J o h n   C h e e v e r (MICHAEL CHABON, Salon)
    -ESSAY:  Saul Bellow: On John Cheever, NY Review of Books
    -ESSAY: Position Paper on "Goodbye, My Brother"
    -ESSAY: Addiction in John Cheever's "The Enormous Radio"   (Dr. Clifton Snider, Sample Story Analysis)
    -REMARKS: Brokenness: on form and the short story (Paul Lisicky, Blithe House Quarterly)
    -ESSAY: WRITERS AND ALCOHOL  (Ann Waldron, The Washington Post)
    -ESSAY: ONE TOO MANY FOR THE MUSE (J. Anthony Lukas, NY Times Book Review)
    -ESSAY: YADDO  (JEAN NATHAN, NY Times Book Review)
    -LINKS:  John Cheever   (1912-1982) (Bedford/St. Martins, Lit Links)
    -LINKS: American Modernism
    -REVIEW: Robert Towers: Light Touch, NY Review of Books
        The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
    -REVIEW: Elizabeth Hardwick: The Family Way, NY Review of Books
        The Wapshot Scandal by John Cheever
    -REVIEW: Frederick C. Crews: Domestic Manners, NY Review of Books
        Drive, He Said by Jeremy Larner
        Teeth, Dying And Other Matters by Richard G. Stern
        The Brigadier and the Golf Widow by John Cheever
    -REVIEW: Thomas R. Edwards: Surprise, Surprise, NY Review of Books
        The World of Apples by John Cheever
        People Will Always Be Kind by Wilfrid Sheed
        Points for a Compass Rose by Evan S. Connell, Jr.
    -REVIEW: Robert Towers: Up the River, NY Review of Books
        Falconer by John Cheever
        A Place to Come To by Robert Penn Warren
    -REVIEW: of THE JOURNALS OF JOHN CHEEVER By John Cheever (Mary Gordon, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Journals of John Cheever Edited by Robert Gottlieb (HERBERT MITGANG, NY times)
    -REVIEW: of The Letters of John Cheever Edited by Benjamin Cheever (JOHN GROSS, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of THE LETTERS OF JOHN CHEEVER Edited by Benjamin Cheever (Robert Kiely, NY times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of OH WHAT A PARADISE IT SEEMS By John Cheever (John Leonard, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of OH WHAT A PARADISE IT SEEMS By John Cheever (Anatole Broyard, NY Times)
    -REVIEW: of THIRTEEN UNCOLLECTED STORIES BY JOHN CHEEVER Edited by Franklin H. Dennis (Sven Birkerts, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: Elizabeth Hardwick: Cheever, or The Ambiguities, NY Review of Books
        Home Before Dark by Susan Cheever
    -REVIEW: of  HOME BEFORE DARK. By Susan Cheever (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, NY times)
    -REVIEW: of TREETOPS A Family Memoir. By Susan Cheever (Jane Smiley, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of JOHN CHEEVER A Biography. By Scott Donaldson (Lorrie Moore, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of John Cheever A Biography By Scott Donaldson  (MICHIKO KAKUTANI, NY Times)
    -ARTICLE: Cheever's Widow Suing to Stop Publication of Story Collection (HERBERT MITGANG, NY times)
    -REVIEW: of  UNCOLLECTING CHEEVER The Family of John Cheever vs. Academy Chicago Publishers (Richard Dooling, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of UNCOLLECTING CHEEVER.   [ The Family of John Cheever vs. Academy Chicago Publishers ] by  ANITA MILLER (Peter Kurth, Salon)
    -REVIEW: of Uncollecting Cheever (Dave Reid, Foreword Magazine)

    -LINKS: American Writers and Their Works: The 20th Century