Eliot Nailles loves his wife and son to distraction; Paul Hammer is a bastard named after a common household tool. Neighbours in Bullet Park, the two become fatefully linked by the mysterious binding power of their names in Cheever's sharp and funny hymn to the dubious normality of the American suburbs.
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(198mm x 129mm x 17mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
Bullet Park is in the heart of the Cheever country, landscaped with $65,000 houses, with gardens and golf courses and swimming pools, with empty bottles and full ashtrays, as well as the less definable malaise of the mid-century middle class man. It will be familiar to his readers. So are his characters, stubbing their toes on immaterial manifestations, the startled victims of a world they never made but inherited along with comfortable assurances of affluence and the moral fixity of God and family values. Until sooner or later there's the misgiving that something has been lost. Or someone. Like Eliot Nailes' son Tony who takes to bed with a depression no doctor can cure - only a swami of dubious origins on the wrong side of town. Or perhaps like Paul Hammer, a bastard who has been circling the world in an alcoholic haze chasing chimera, who doesn't belong anywhere - not even in the bed of his new young wife. It is Paul who finally decides to fulfill his mother's last mad words - that a crucifixion in Bullet Park can shake the world loose from its torporous apathy and the bought releases which make it bearable (television for youngsters like Tony, tranquilizers for his baffled father). Cheever's novel, loosely and somewhat artificially structured, is as fragile as the world it conveys. Behind every well tended rosebush lurk the frustrations and fears of modern man. A twilight tale filled with the sweet, sad, muffled mystery of existence and there will be recognitions and reverberations for everyone. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - John Cheever
John Cheever was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1912, and he went to school at Thayer Academy in South Braintree. He is the author of seven collections of stories and five novels. His first novel, The Wapshot Chronicle, won the 1958 National Book Award. In 1965 he received the Howells Medal for Fiction from the National Academy of Arts and Letters and in 1978 he won the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Shortly before his death in 1982 he was awarded the National Medal for Literature.