Tag Archives: Jona Whipple

John Cheever and the Loneliness of Suburbia

John Cheever, America’s foremost documentarian on the lifeless routines and endless yard maintenance of suburbia, made his permanent move out of Manhattan and into a Dutch Colonial farmhouse in Ossining in 1961. In 1964, “The Swimmer” was published in The New Yorker, a short story which follows a socially well-regarded and youthful man as he traverses […]

War of the Words: Cather vs. Hemingway, 1923

In 1922, Willa Cather’s foray into the subject of World War I, One of Ours, was published by Knopf. The novel follows Claude Wheeler, a young Nebraskan who has become disappointed with the monotonous direction of his life. Wheeler yearns to dedicate himself to something besides the years of farming and marriage which stretch out […]

On Regret

We often think of a well-received, award-winning, widely-read piece of published writing as a triumph not only for its writer, but for those who enjoyed reading it and appreciated its perspective. It is easy for us to overlook the possibility that there are, sometimes, regrets involved in writing. Annie Proulx’s story “Brokeback Mountain” appeared in […]

Fireworks and Breezeblocks: The Music of American Writing

In November of 2010, Katy Perry’s dance-pop anthem to confidence, “Firework,” debuted on the American charts. It peaked at number one on the Billboard Top 100, topped charts around the world, and was nominated for a Grammy. At the time, few would have guessed that the club song and its music video, which featured Perry […]

Writing the Darkness: American Writers and Mental Illness

In his 1936 essay for Esquire, “The Crack-Up,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote loosely, as if looking sideways at something he didn’t wish to see again, on the fuzzy details of his struggles with alcoholism and resulting depression. He writes of a time when he began to question the surroundings of his own life, and seemed […]

Sex and the City and the Best of Everything

Shortly before Rona Jaffe’s death in 2005, she wrote the foreword for a reissue of her first novel, the bestselling The Best of Everything. In the foreword, Jaffe described a different time, a time when sex and relationships were not discussed in straightforward terms, the Mad Men-era of married cads and the career girls at […]