"We were both born in 1912, the year the Titanic sank and the Democrats regained the White House, and in mid-December 1943 we were both wearing ill-fitting Government Issue with sergeant's stripes when we met in one of the more exotic battle stations of World War II. The old Paramount studio in Astoria, Queens, swarmed with writers, actors, directors, cameramen, cartoonists, film editors and sound technicians working on training and orientation films for the Army Signal Corps." So begins the Introduction to Glad Tidings, a captivating self-portrait drawn by John Cheever in letters written to John and Harriett Weaver during the four decades he battled with alcohol, editors, publishers, landlords and bill collectors to feed, clothe and shelter his family. The Weavers' home in the Hollywood Hills, where Harriett "spun the grass and roses," was the sanctuary shielding him from the demons that dominated his journals. "I think you and Harriett and I share some sense of what love amounts to," Cheever wrote in 1924. "I remember standing on the terrace of your old house, by the Cinzano ashtray. The door was open and I heard Harriett flush a toilet and open and close a drawer. The sensation of my aloneness was stupendous. I am, as you both know, quite stupid and callow but I do try to catch myself. It's like chasing someone around a barn." Because these letters span the years between Cheever's first and last books, they offer a consistent and chronological view of his life as a writer: the impecunious early years of his marriage, his devotion to his growing family, his artistic setbacks and successes, his triumph over his addiction to alcohol and his impudent reports on the cancer that ended his life, but not before he had finished Falconer and won the Pulitzer Prize for his farewell collection of short stories.
Used availability for John Cheever's Glad Tidings
September 1993 : USA Hardback
December 1994 : USA Paperback
Title: Glad Tidings: a Friendship in Letters: The Correspondence of John Cheever
Author(s): John Cheever
ISBN: 0-06-092555-8 / 978-0-06-092555-0 (USA edition)
Availability: Amazon UK