John Cheever's short stories captured the alienation and unhappiness festering beneath the cheery veneer of the American postwar suburban dream, and they've been openly credited as a great influence on the writers of "Mad Men." Of course, Cheever had the advantage of writing about this stuff while it was happening around him, so the details of the cocktails in the bar car crowd are just right. The collected stories have been available for years, but the Library of America released a collection in 2009 that collects some of Cheever's best, including his 1964 classic short "The Swimmer."
Stathis Orphanos / Knopf
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