I would not lightly mention any writer of fiction in the same breath as John Cheever, who was one of the most remarkable and enjoyable storytellers of our times. I can’t better this short comment which says it all: ‘The Cheever corpus is magical – a mood, a vision, a tingle, all quite unexplainably achieved.’ That is from Newsweek and graces the front cover of The Stories of John Cheever (King Penguin).
I do mention Peter Kocan in the same breath, not to make comparisons with the incomparable, but because Kocan’s novels so strongly remind me of that Newsweek opinion: ‘a mood, a vision, a tingle, and all quite unexplainably achieved’.
How Peter Kocan achieves the stunning, but subtle impact of these two novels, now printed in one volume, I cannot explain. It is tempting to end this article here and now with: ‘Read them for yourself.’