January 08, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST

Uncollecting Cheever: The Family of John Cheever vs. Academy Chicago Publishers

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Anita Miller
genre
Pop Culture, Nonfiction
We gave it a B-

In 1987 a small indie publishing house, owned by Anita Miller, approached the family of John Cheever with a proposal to print a volume of his ”uncollected stories.” The family agreed, and things proceeded — for a few months, at least. Then the Cheevers claimed they had been misled as to the extent of the book (they thought it would be a small scholarly volume as opposed to a mass-market hardcover) and attempted to break their contract. They all ended up in court, and ultimately the Supreme Court of Illinois decided in favor of the Cheevers. Now Anita Miller has taken it upon herself to tell the ”right” side of the story. Not that she says so, of course; she says she wants to warn the literary community of a legal decision that threatens all small presses. This is a valid point, but unfortunately, while she begins Uncollecting Cheever: The Family of John Cheever vs. Academy Chicago Publishers with convincing restraint, she ends by taking petty potshots at her opponents. B-

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