It’s hard to imagine that the late John Cheever could have gotten a better biographer than my guest Monday at noon, Blake Bailey. He is an editor of Cheever’s writing, and his A Tragic Honesty, a biography of the novelist Richard Yates, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His new Cheever: A Life is a smartly, generously, elegantly written 700 page exploration, celebration and empathetic take-apart of a writer whose celebrity sometimes overshadowed his work, even as his work was being held up as iconic, exemplary, the poster boy writer of the New Yorker magazine, and whose collected short stories reintroduced him as a master and innovator and, yes, genius. John Cheever is one of everybody’s favorite writers, or should be, damn it! When not praising Bailey’s wonderfully written biography, reviewers can’t help but hope his reconsideration might attract more readers of John Cheever. So, in the spirit of both celebrating his life and work, and the achievement of Cheever’s biographer, I’ll welcome Blake Bailey, author of Cheever: A Life to Bibliocracy.
See Geoffrey Wolff's wonderful review in Sunday's NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/books/review/Wolff-t.html?_r=1&ref=books
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