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Blake Bailey: Cheever

Blake Bailey: Cheever

A Life. USA 2010, 771 pp., brochure,  14.39
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This is the story of a proud Yankee who flaunted his lineage while deploring the provincialism of his family circle: John Cheever - this struggling alcoholic and conflicted bisexual spent much of his career impersonating a perfect suburban gentleman. He was a high-school dropout who went on to become one of the foremost chroniclers of postwar America. It appears that although Cheever was aware of his bisexuality as a very young man, through most of his adult life he maintained a heterosexual front. As he grew older and as society's attitudes about sex began to relax, his homosexual side became more overt. The composer Ned Rorem, with whom he had occasional encounters, said that Cheever »was obsessed with homosexuality, as though hoarding lost time«. Probably, the truth was that he was so needy, physically and emotionally, that he would settle for whatever warmth he could get.
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