Oh What a Paradise It Seems

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Oh What A Paradise It Seems
AuthorJohn Cheever
CountryUnited States
PublisherAlfred A. Knopf
Publication date
Media typePrint
Preceded byThe Stories of John Cheever 

Oh What a Paradise It Seems is a 1982 novella by John Cheever. It is Cheever's last work of fiction, published shortly before his death from cancer.[1]

The main character is Lemuel Sears, an elderly computer-industry executive, twice-widowed, who pursues an ardent but unsuccessful love affair with Renee, a beautiful but elusive woman who works in real-estate.[2] There are numerous subplots. Sears becomes involved in another love affair, and is also funding an investigation of the pollution of Beasley's Pond in Connecticut, where he enjoys ice skating.[2] The novella reprises many of Cheever's familiar themes, including love, lust, life in suburbia, and a sense of displacement.[3]

Writing in the New York Times, John Leonard called the novella "perfect Cheever; it is perfect, period."[3] John Updike, a friend of Cheever, preferred it to Cheever's novel Falconer, and remarked on the theme of ice skating, which he called his "Wordsworthian hike" and his "connection with elemental purity and the awesome depths above and below".[4]


  1. ^ New, W.H.; Rosengarten, H.J., eds. (1986). Modern Stories. Addison-Wesley Longman. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-7730-4564-4.
  2. ^ a b "Oh What a Paradise It Seems". Kirkus Reviews (1 March 1982). Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  3. ^ a b Leonard, John. "Cheever Country". New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  4. ^ Updike, John (2 December 1991). "John Updike Beautifully Explains How Difficult It Was To Read John Cheever's Tortured Journals". New Republic. Retrieved 27 February 2015.