Monday, January 16, 2017

The Wapshot Chronicle - John Cheever

The Wapshot Chronicle
Title: The Wapshot Chronicle
Author: John Cheever
Publication Date: 1957
Pages: 352
Genre: Classic / Historical / Fiction
How I Found It: 100 Best Novels
Date Completed: 12/27/16

Summary: The Wapshot family has lived in their small New England village for generations. Cheever, famous for his short stories, uses the novel to give snapshots of the lives of one particular Wapshot family.

What I Thought: I enjoyed this one much more than I was expecting to. I enjoyed Cheever's writing style and his characters were both entertaining and sympathetic. 

The Wapshot family is a bit of a sad case. None of them seem particularly happy at any point in the book. They never do anything especially interesting or dramatic. Instead, Cheever has captured their normality and mundanity. The book is simple in so many ways, but its simplicity is somehow what makes it lovely. 

A Goodreads reviewer compared the book to a person who is physically attractive until you start picking apart their features. Everything works together in a way that is perfectly lovely, but individual features are not anything remarkable. I thought that was a great analogy for this book. In many ways, it is nothing special. Picked apart, there is not much to separate it from other novels. Seen as a whole, though, it really is something special. 

More than anything, I came away from this book wanting to read more of Cheever's work. He has another novel specifically about the Wapshots which I will likely read at some point. I'd also like to read some of his short stories as, after reading this, I can easily see the prowess he would wield over such a genre.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Perhaps

A Reduced Review: A narrative of the everyday in the best way possible. There is little spectacular or ground-shaking here, but the mundane is made interesting. 

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