JOHN CHEEVER, American author died (b. 1912); A novelist and short story writer, sometimes called “the Chekhov of the suburbs” or “the Ovid of Ossining.” His fiction is mostly set in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, the Westchester suburbs, and old New England villages based on various South Shore towns around Quincy, Massachusetts, where he was born.
Cheever is perhaps best remembered for his short stories (including The Enormous Radio, Goodbye, My Brother, The Five-Forty-Eight, The Country Husband, and The Swimmer), but also wrote a number of novels, such as The Wapshot Chronicle (National Book Award, 1958), The Wapshot Scandal (William Dean Howells Medal, 1965), Bullet Park, and Falconer.
His main themes include the duality of human nature: sometimes dramatized as the disparity between a character’s decorous social persona and inner corruption, and sometimes as a conflict between two characters (often brothers) who embody the salient aspects of both–light and dark, flesh and spirit. Two of Cheever’s children, Susan and Benjamin, became writers. Susan Cheever’s memoir, Home Before Dark (1984), revealed Cheever’s bisexuality, which was confirmed by his posthumously published letters and journals.