Welcome to Bullet Park, a township in which even the most buttoned-down gentry sometimes manage to terrify themselves simply by looking in the mirror. When in John Cheever turned from the lovable Wapshots to the weird creatures who inhabit Bullet Park, most reviewers attacked or. Jenne begins with Joyce’s Dubliners while I flip open a novel by John Cheever, Bullet Park. I had picked it up used a few months ago after being intrigued by.
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My grandmother lived in Westport, Connecticut, for more than forty years. Last winter, she passed away and her antique, tomato-toned house was placed onto the market.
After four buolet, the house still sat unsold. My girlfriend and I, in limbo on the East Coast after a summer spent working on an organic farm, decided to pay it a final visit. I have fond memories of the Westport pxrk. Upstairs are the slanted-roof rooms where my parents and brother and I used to play card games deep into the night while the lady pagk the house slept downstairs.
In the bedroom closet is the black-and-white television my brother and I used to watch during concurrent bouts of insomnia. Outside, near the garage, the gravel-strewn driveway where we used to play Parj ball, hurling the white sphere at jobn other until our shoulders hurt.
My memories of my grandmother are more lukewarm. Mostly I recall her unchanging eating habits Grape Nuts, rice crackers, deli sandwiches and irrational, show-stopping assertions of control. That she permitted us the first half seems, in retrospect, to have been some ingenious form of punishment. Soon, the man next to us strikes up a conversation. Well-dressed and middle-aged, with the exposed cottony chest hair of a cartoon porn producer, he informs us that he designs clothing — he is the president of some well-known company.
Such a pity to have so much money, he says, and so little taste.
He hopes the book will help to remedy the situation. While he speaks, a slender, attractive blonde woman jockeys silently for his attention. Finally, she shoves her iPhone into his face. How does he judge the work? The man glances up, embarrassed.
An apparently striking redhead in her youth, she was the progeny of ppark New York City Jews. After moving to the suburbs, she played tennis and bridge, attended social events, was seen.
A wife in Westchester and a widow in Westport. My mom taught high school art. My dad wrote magazine articles. We lived a comfortable, if modest existence.
After a summer thunderstorm renders the nearby river unusable, we settle down to read.
Bullet Park by John Cheever | : Books
I had picked it up used a few months ago after being intrigued by some of the back-cover blurbs. The first section of the book is devoted largely to Nailles, an earnest husband and mouthwash salesman struggling to reconcile cheever animal facts of existence with the stifling suburban milieu.
His elderly mother is dying. His teenage son is depressed. The second half of the book belongs to Hammer, the newest resident of Bullet Park.
Independently wealthy and existentially depressed, Cheefer has moved to the suburbs with a perverse ulterior motive: He has taken the plan from his mother, a Leftist chrever living abroad in Germany. Hammer wanders his adulthood brokenly, deciding on murder to cleanse his wounded soul.
It would be almost a decade before he ventured another. It is also true that the book helped me to crystallize something formerly inchoate within myself. I both feel pity for the aging blondes mulling plastic surgery and want to slap them across the face. But the novel is bigger than my own personal ancestry or illumination: I mean razor blades and soap and bacon and eggs and gasoline and train tickets and shoes.
She was not an unintelligent woman. A graduate of Northwestern Bhllet, she read prolifically throughout her life. She was renowned within our family for her humor and wit.
She paid attention to politics, knew something of history. An actor reveals his rather tantalizing penis on stage; mobs of profane youth protest in a park outside the theater; and on the bus ride home she spies two men kissing. She is at once aroused and enraged by the bullet urban spectacle.
Looking back, I wonder how my grandmother was able to reconcile her own way of life with the evolving modern world, how she weathered her own inconvenient thoughts and desires. No wonder she was so absent from my childhood. The granola-and-Godard set would have been too much for her.
The suburbs, Bullet Park — that was her home. After a week holed up in Westport, I am more than ready to go. As we truck around the house, gathering up our things, I feel cheeever great surge of gratitude.
I will never have to come back to this bullett again. My grandmother is gone and soon the house will be, too.
While he looks at the screen, she turns her attention on Jenne.