The Wapshot Chronicle

  • by John Cheever
  • Narrated by Joe Barrett
  • 17 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When The Wapshot Chronicle was published in 1957, John Cheever was already recognized as a writer of superb short stories. But The Wapshot Chronicle, which won the 1958 National Book Award, established him as a major novelist.Based in part on Cheever's adolescence in New England, the novel follows the destinies of the impecunious and wildly eccentric Wapshots of St. Botolphs, a quintessential Massachusetts fishing village. Here are the stories of Captain Leander Wapshot, venerable sea dog and would-be suicide; of his licentious older son, Moses; and of Moses' adoring and errant younger brother, Coverly.
Tragic and funny, ribald and splendidly picaresque, The Wapshot Chronicle is a family narrative in the tradition of Trollope, Dickens, and Henry James.
As an added bonus, when you purchase our Audible Modern Vanguard production of John Cheever's book, you'll also receive an exclusive Jim Atlas interview. This interview – where James Atlas interviews Blake Bailey about the life and work of John Cheever – begins as soon as the audiobook ends.


What the Critics Say

"The best introduction to Cheever's work.... Richly inventive and vividly told." (The New York Times Book Review)
"[John Cheever is] a master American storyteller." (Time)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Beautiful 1950s Great Expectations-like Novel

"Man is not simple. Hobgoblin company of love always with us."

The Wapshot Chronicle is a twin Bildungsroman of sons Moses and Coverly, framed by the letters, journaling, and loneliness of their father Leander. It is a crazy beautiful 20th Century Great Expectations-like novel of a family's depth and breadth, its secrets and its flaws. The two brothers are saddled with the albatross and obligation to insure ensure that Old Honora’s keeps paying the bills (future) for the boys and (current) for their parents.

Cheever fills his novel with dominating mothers, idiosyncratic and co-dependent guardians, changeable wives and costly lovers. The trinity of Wapshot men, float throughout Cheever's novel in a wayward, rudderless boat. Their lives are constantly taking on water and they seem destined to be blown further from the shore by the dominant humor of the nearest strong-willed female.

The characters in The Wapshot Chronicle were amazing. Its language and narrative were incredible. Cheever's satire and ribald humor constantly bit this reader in his lusty-for-good-literature ass.
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- Darwin8u "I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^"

Long Meandering Tale

Though the author has a gift with words and listening to the Wapshot Chronicle has its times of funny or poignant interest, overall it seemed to go nowhere. I listened to the end, waiting for some conclusion, something to tie the thing together, but its not there. Instead it is a tale about an eccentric, all-over-the place family, that in the end is sad to me. I don't know about you, but who wants to hear, over and over about three men who meander through life and never really resolve anything?
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- Debbie "Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-11-2009
  • Publisher: Audible Studios