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The Enormous Radio and Other Stories, by John Cheever; Some Faces in the Crowd, by Budd Schulberg

- Abstract

The modern short story ranges from the over-inflated bromide, the kind of thing the slicks and certain of the ladies’ magazines do so neatly, to the highly concentrated, short novel, complex and ambigious, which we find sometimes in the little magazines and in The New Yorker. The extremes of this gamut may be seen in the collections of Budd Schulberg and John Cheever. Where Schulberg elaborates into a full story the commonplace of a child’s discovery of the world’s untrustworthiness (which never, in any case, occurs in a moment, as Schulberg with a Hollywood sense of economy would have us believe), Cheever tosses off, in part of a sentence, a far more perceptive comment about a neglected child’s premature instinct of self-protection: “[The child and the nurse] quarreled a good deal when they were alone, and they quarreled like adults, with a cunning knowledge of each other’s frailties.”

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