When he sold his first short story to The New Yorker in 1979, Alan Cheuse was hardly new to the literary world. He had studied at Rutgers under John Ciardi, worked at the Breadloaf Writing Workshops with Robert Frost and Ralph Ellison, written hundreds of reviews for Kirkus Reviews, and taught alongside John Gardner and Bernard Malamud at Bennington College for nearly a decade. Soon after the New Yorker story appeared, Cheuse wrote a freelance magazine piece about a new, publicly funded broadcast network called National Public Radio, and a relationship of reviewer and radio was born.
In Listening to the Page, Alan Cheuse takes a look back at some of the thousands of books he has read, reviewed, and loved, offering retrospective pieces on modern American literary figures such as Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, Bernard Malamud, and John Steinbeck, as well as contemporary writers like Elizabeth Tallent and Vassily Aksyonov. Other essays explore landscape in All the Pretty Horses, the career of James Agee, Mario Vargas Llosa and naturalism, and the life and work of Robert Penn Warren.
Praise for Listening to the Page:
The learned, lively, and handsomely crafted essays in this collection revive some neglected authors as varied as the dazzling Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier, the magisterial Tom Wolfe (the elder), and the Russian memoirist Lidiya Ginsburg…. [Cheuse’s] essays are instructive, his enthusiasm contagious, his views unobjectionable.
—Ulrich Baer, New York University Library Journal
Steady, but also passionate, boundlessly receptive, but willing to tender strong judgment, Alan Cheuse is the reader any writer would want. For the same reasons, he is a writer serious readers will feel instantly connected to. Listening to the Page is a generous and wise and quietly instructive book of essays.
—Sven Birkerts, author of The Gutenberg Elegies
This is a fascinating book?and why not? Cheuse has probably read as much as anyone ever.
—Marvin J. LaHood, World Literature Today
Despite his several novels and story collections, Alan Cheuse remains best known as the book critic on the public radio show ‘All Things Considered.’ The essays collected in Listening to the Page are longer and deeper than his pithy radio reviews and reveal a commitment to reading as a passionate engagement with life.
—Jacob Molyneux, San Francisco Chronicle