Friday, July 22, 2016

Book Review: Some People Places and Things...

Title: Some People Places and Things That Will Not Appear in My Next Novel

Author: John Cheever

Date: 1961

Publisher: Harper & Brothers

ISBN: none

Length: 175 pages

Quote: “In his drunkenness he dropped a lighted cigarette onto the sofa, and the velvet began to smoke…Uncle Sidney noticed the fire and poured the contents of his whisky glass onto the upholstery. The whisky and the sofa burst into flames.”

John Cheever was a fiction writer of some reputation in the mid-twentieth century, called "the Chekhov of the suburbs." This book is a collection of short stories he’d sold to various magazines, back when magazines paid for short stories.

In addition to the self-destructive family we meet in the quote (the quote is quite enough of them to suit me) readers meet a real live duchess who was bored by conventions and pretentions and wanted to marry an American called Smith, a prematurely successful young man who’s still called “Gee-Gee” for short for “Greek God” and who drinks a lot and can’t keep a house, a man whose secret from his wife is that he’s taken up cake baking, and other people, each of whom is interesting enough and believable enough to help a patient pass the time in the dentist’s waiting room.

Whether these unrelated fictional characters are interesting enough to deserve a Real Book is another question. All readers are not alike. I have very little patience with fiction. Many book lovers enjoy fiction. This book will undoubtedly appeal to those book lovers.

I don’t know there are still Cheever scholars who need this book for their collections, but, if there are: I have one. Cheever no longer needs a dollar and I still have to charge $5 per book + $5 per package. Meh. If you find a better total deal on Amazon, take it. If you buy it here, you can add two or three more books to the package and pay only one $5 shipping charge, so you may not find a better deal.