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Publisher's Summary

Here is the preface to 12 magnificent stories, originally part of The John Cheever Audio Collection, in which John Cheever celebrates - with unequaled grace and tenderness - the deepest feelings we have.

As Cheever writes in his preface, "These stories seem at times to be stories of a long-lost world when the city of New York was still filled with a river light, when you heard the Benny Goodman quartets from a radio in the corner stationery store, and when almost everybody wore a hat."

Listen to more classic short stories in The John Cheever Audio Collection.
©1978 John Cheever (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Enormous Radio

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Get the Collection Instead!

Get the Collection Instead! I stumbled upon Cheever as THE WAPSHOT CHRONICLES was on the Modern Library Critics 100 List (which I really liked) then I found Cheever wrote one of my favorite short stories THE SWIMMER. I then added all Cheever Audible to my todo list. Mistake! Several of individual short stories were included in a collection. The collection contains "The Enormous Radio," "The Five-Forty-Eight," "O City of Broken Dreams," "Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor," "The Season of Divorce," "The Brigadier and the Golf Widow," "The Sorrows of Gin," "O Youth and Beauty!," "The Chaste Clarissa," "The Jewels of the Cabots," "The Death of Justina," and "The Swimmer." My favorites with THE SWIMMER, THE ENORMOUS RADIO, and THE FIVE-FORTY-EIGHT. The narration is excellent.

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Great Story, Good Performance

This story is great but the performance was just a little "flat" which left me feeling like I could not justify giving it an overall 5 star rating.

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a timely, smart, enjoyable story

Published in 1953, The Enormous Radio by John Cheeer is timely in 2020. This story was written just as television was on the brink of becoming a common household item and so radio was still the primary means of home entertainment. Today we use our iPhones in this way, and this story could easily be told with the new technology. This story centers on the Westcotts, who are a middle class family with two children. They recently purchased a new radio, but unfortunately they have discovered that they can hear all of the private conversations of their neighbors. Told in the third person, the narration establishes a bit of mystery and gives us insight into who these people are but with a lack of intimacy that would be brought about by first person narration. Typically of the 1950s, Mr. Westcott works outside the home and Mrs. Westcott is a housewife. She loves music, which is part of the reason behind the purchase, but she quickly becomes addicted to listening in on the conversations of the neighbors. It is oddly voyeuristic. (Why isn't there a good word like this for times when we are eavesdropping not viewing?) Eventually her involvement in all the stories around her lead to a disastrous effect upon her own family. This story is a commentary on humanity, on being happy with what you have and not envying others, and about being content to know our own stories instead of minding the business of others. I think it also felt like an exploration of technology and how it can take over, and change our lives for the worse if we aren't careful. This was my first Cheever story, but will not be my last. I listened to the audio recording narrated by the iconic Meryl Streep. It was incredible.