Cheever, Marquand, O'Hara, and other Trad Books

raincoat

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I hope no one will mind a second plug for the wonderful Peter Taylor.

Not at all. I didn't even catch your first plug.

Actually I've been reading more Southern writers lately. I just read Neal Holland Duncan's Baby Soniat (recommended by blastandcast above). Was a little disappointed with that one actually. The last chapter was so much better than everything preceding it (in my humble opinion). It was a fun read though.

Another Southern author worth mentioning in this thread (Southern Trad?) is Walker Percy. I actually haven't read anything by him but Congresspark's mention of Peter Taylor sort of reminded me that I've been meaning to. I'll probably check The Moviegoer out from the library this afternoon.

Also, I read Cold Spring Harbor by Richard Yates a few days ago and would really, highly recommend it to anyone. It's a quick read too.
 
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PJC in NoVa

Connoisseur
Walker Percy's uncle (who raised him after his parents died), the attorney William Alexander Percy, wrote a classic of Southern regional literature called Lanterns on the Levee. It's worth a look.

Does anyone read Booth Tarkington any more? I could see putting him on the "trad writers" list.
 

cumberlandpeal

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
"Lanterns on the Levee" is excellent and has a nice chapter on Sewanee where the author spent time as a student. Peter Taylor, anything at all, is splendid and catches the voice of the upper middle class Southerner perfectly. Ditto Ellen Gilchrist.

I loved Booth Tarkington when I was a child.
 

PJC in NoVa

Connoisseur
"Lanterns on the Levee" is excellent and has a nice chapter on Sewanee where the author spent time as a student. Peter Taylor, anything at all, is splendid and catches the voice of the upper middle class Southerner perfectly. Ditto Ellen Gilchrist.

I loved Booth Tarkington when I was a child.

I guess he's fondly recalled for the Penrod and Sam books, indeed. I was also thinking of The Magnificent Ambersons, which I came to via the great (even if criminally studio-mutilated) Orson Welles movie.

TMA seems to me to offer some "traddish" preoccupations, with a touch of melodrama and a Midwestern rather than a Northeastern or Southern spin (he was from Indiana), to wit: concern with upward and downward social mobility in American society; the place and meaning of family pride and old-fashioned virtues in such a fluid milieu; etc.
 

The Rambler

Honors Member
So many half-forgotten masterpieces: The Late George Apley, wow, that's a superb book--must read again. I think for me the ultimate is the scene in Gatsby where he starts throwing shirts on the bed, and Daisy starts weeping because she's 'never seen such beautiful shirts.' Sort of what it's all about, though as I recall the shirts aren't really trad.
 

raincoat

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
By Michael Knox Beran, The Last Patrician: Bobby Kennedy and the End of American Aristocracy

I read this over a year ago and can only remember enjoying it, no details. I may have heard about it on this board actually. Anyway I was looking through some notes I had taken while reading it and found mention of Nelson Aldrich, Digby Baltzell, Marquand, Johnson's Stover at Yale, Averell Harriman, George Plimpton, John Lindsay, and it just goes on and on.


Really enjoying all the Southern trad recommendations by the way, so thanks to all who have given them.
 

PJC in NoVa

Connoisseur
So many half-forgotten masterpieces: The Late George Apley, wow, that's a superb book--must read again. I think for me the ultimate is the scene in Gatsby where he starts throwing shirts on the bed, and Daisy starts weeping because she's 'never seen such beautiful shirts.' Sort of what it's all about, though as I recall the shirts aren't really trad.

I wonder if that that famous scene was inspired by one of Zelda's emotional displays. I could see her getting overwrought and falling into a pile of Scott's shirts.
 

Benson

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I'm afraid that if I read any of Cheever or O' Hara's books, it will feel like just another F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. The characters long to be in the upper class and come from poor backgrounds, etc....


I can't speak to O'hara's work, but I think you should reconsider Cheever (his characters are hardly F. Scott castoffs). In fact, I think anyone who reads the Day the Pig Fell into the Well would find it difficult to say Cheever was not a writer of peculiar gifts.
 

phyrpowr

Honors Member

I'll bet you read Henry James for pleasure:icon_smile_big:

BTW, anyone who wants to get into Faulkner, IMHO, do not start with "The Sound and the Fury". It's the culmination of a rather long line of work that begins, chronologically, with "Sartoris" and "The Unvanquished". It's fine on it's own of course as an example of stream of consciousness, but you won't really get any feel for who Quentin Compson is or why

The Hamlet, Town, Mansion trilogy is a stand alone and very instructive on Faulkner's obsession(?) with status.
 
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Steve Smith

Super Member
The Swimmer is the best short story I have ever read.

I can't speak to O'hara's work, but I think you should reconsider Cheever (his characters are hardly F. Scott castoffs). In fact, I think anyone who reads the Day the Pig Fell into the Well would find it difficult to say Cheever was not a writer of peculiar gifts.
 

The Rambler

Honors Member
Speaking of great short stories, has anyone mentioned Updike. Recently reread Collected Early Stories: the guy writes in HD. And look at the jacket pictures, or any picture of Updike, to see near perfect (perfect doesn't cut it) traditional dressing.
 

Benson

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Not to hijack the thread, but I am beginning to wonder how many writers frequent the Trad forum, or AAAC generally. I know there are a good deal of academics here, but what about writers of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction?
 

Congresspark

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I'll bet you read Henry James for pleasure:icon_smile_big:

BTW, anyone who wants to get into Faulkner, IMHO, do not start with "The Sound and the Fury". It's the culmination of a rather long line of work that begins, chronologically, with "Sartoris" and "The Unvanquished". It's fine on it's own of course as an example of stream of consciousness, but you won't really get any feel for who Quentin Compson is or why

The Hamlet, Town, Mansion trilogy is a stand alone and very instructive on Faulkner's obsession(?) with status.
Why else would you read Henry James?
 

Congresspark

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
for penance

:icon_smile:

OK, OK, James is something of a writer's writer. But he does deal with concerns that might appeal to members of this forum: subtlety and decorum and the ways these are used in service of desire, power, privilege.

Perhaps Nicholas Shakespeare's fine biography of Bruce Chatwin doesn't exactly belong in this thread. But Chatwin had a lifelong love of Brooks Brothers shirts, and his own writing is elegant, restrained, confident, and pointed. Again, qualities some here might find sympathetic. It's also fascinating, given the number of worlds he managed to inhabit.
 
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