Paris Review blog post recalls Cheever’s Updike scare

Today The Paris Review uploaded a blog post by Dan Piepenbring which featured the photo below of John Updike and John Cheever on The Dick Cavett Show and an entry from Cheever’s journal, circa 1974, 1978, that’s here titled, “False Alarm.”

It begins, “The telephone rings at four. This is CBS. John Updike has been in a fatal automobile accident. Do you care to comment. I am crying. I cannot sleep again. I think of joining Mary in bed but I am afraid she will send me away.”

Later, Cheever writes, “As for John he was a man I so esteemed as a colleague and so loved as a friend that his loss is indescribable. He was a prince. I think it not difficult to kiss him goodbye—I can think of no other way of parting from him although he would, in my case, have been embarrassed. As a writer of his generation I think him peerless; and his gifts of communicating, to millions of strangers, his most exalted and desperate emotions was, in his case, fortified by immense and uncommon intelligence and erudition.”

It would be Cheever, Updike’s senior by two decades, who would die first, in 1982. Here’s a link to the October 14, 1981 Dick Cavett Show featuring the two luminary Johns.

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