Oh What a Paradise It Seems

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Overview

John Cheever's last novel is a fable set in a village so idyllic it has no fast-food outlet and having as its protagonist an old man, Lemuel Sears, who still has it in him to fall wildly in love with strangers of both sexes. But Sears's paradise is threatened; the pond he loves is being fouled by unscrupulous polluters. In Cheever's accomplished hands the battle between an elderly romantic and the monstrous aspects of late-twentieth-century civilization becomes something ribald, poignant, and ineffably joyful. ...
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Oh What a Paradise It Seems

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Overview

John Cheever's last novel is a fable set in a village so idyllic it has no fast-food outlet and having as its protagonist an old man, Lemuel Sears, who still has it in him to fall wildly in love with strangers of both sexes. But Sears's paradise is threatened; the pond he loves is being fouled by unscrupulous polluters. In Cheever's accomplished hands the battle between an elderly romantic and the monstrous aspects of late-twentieth-century civilization becomes something ribald, poignant, and ineffably joyful.

"A luminous epiphany of life . . . engaging and complex . . . vivid and alive."--Washington Post Book World. An old man falls madly in love and does valiant battle against polluters in this ineffably joyful novel--Cheever's last.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"John Cheever is an enchanted realist, and his voice, in his luminous short stories and in incomparable novels like Bullet Park and Falconer, is as rich and distinctive as any of the leading voices of postwar American literature." —Philip Roth

"This is perfect Cheever—it is perfect." —The New York Times Book Review

"A luminous epiphany of life.... A charming fable of old age, nostalgia, and loss...engaging and complex...vivid and alive." —The Washington Post Book World

"Beautiful...graceful...winning...both upbeat and true to life.... Oh, what a literary paradise is John Cheever!" —San Francisco Chronicle

"Filled with the master's wonderful word magic.... There simply isn't another writer like him...a delight." —Chicago Tribune

Anatole Broyard
John Cheever seethes with literature. He seems drunk with it, as if life itself, as well as the wish to write about it, made him happy. He is perhaps our most sophisticated optimist....In ''Oh What a Paradise It Seems,'' Mr. Cheever's felicities and eccentricities are in full spate....He invents when he wishes and stops where he pleases, as if he were mocking the naivete and the imaginative timidity of the literalminded. I can't say that I'm comfortable with the ending of the book, but I gave up some time ago the notion that art was a comfortable affair. I find myself still mulling over ''Oh What a Paradise It Seems,'' still feeling my way through it, and I believe that's what John Cheever intended. -- New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679737858
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/1992
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: 1st Vintage International ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 785,965
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

John Cheever
A master of the short story, John Cheever helped make the New Yorker's fiction section a reliably good read from the 1950s up until his death in the early '80s. Often featuring unhappy, upper-middle-class characters, Cheever depicted the underside of living well with an unwavering eye.

Biography

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.

Author biography courtesy of HarperCollins.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      May 27, 1912
    2. Place of Birth:
      Quincy, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      June 18, 1982
    2. Place of Death:
      Ossining, New York
    1. Education:
      Thayer Academy

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2000

    Short and Oh, so sweet

    Cheever penned this environmental treatise before being a tree hugger was cool. Wonderfully written with a sometimes brutal honesty, Cheever remains one of the best ever in the short fiction format. The constraints of short fiction are sometimes evident in this book -- rapid detail and stripped down action can leave the reader wanting more. He is sadly neglected now by most readers. Seek out this master.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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