John Cheever Archive
While Cheever pays homage to James in both the themes of change and loss, as well as in the construction of his story, he uses the differences between the two stories to critique the mid-century American way of life.
I can’t resist impossibilities in fiction. Of course, a story’s fabulism is no guarantee I’m going to love that story in the end—but if a first line promises me a new world, I’m going to keep reading.
In 1983, Raymond Carver included “The Train” in his collection Cathedral; he dedicated the story to John Cheever. and from the first words of the story, where one of the characters from a Cheever story is named, we see that Carver’s story will be responding to Cheever’s classic tale.
“I need to tell you something,” he said. He twirled his spaghetti around his fork. She sipped her wine. “What is it?” “Well.” He shoved the tangle of spaghetti in his mouth and chewed. She fiddled with her spoon. Suddenly, the waitress appeared. She had a grease stain