Note Found in a Bottle
By Susan Cheever
(Washington Square Press, Paperback, 9780671040734, 208pp.)
Publication Date: January 2000
Born into a world ruled and defined by the cocktail hour, in which the solution to any problem could be found in a dry martini or another glass of wine, Susan Cheever led a life both charmed and damned. She and her father, the celebrated writer John Cheever, were deeply affected and troubled by alcohol.
Addressing for the first time the profound effects that alcohol had on her life, in shaping of her relationships with men and in influencing her as a writer, Susan Cheever delivers an elegant memoir of clear-eyed candor and unsettling immediacy. She tells of her childhood obsession with the niceties of cocktails and all that they implied -- sociability, sophistication, status; of college days spent drinking beer and cheap wine; of her three failed marriages, in which alcohol was the inescapable component, of a way of life that brought her perilously close to the edge.
At once devastating and inspiring, Note Found in a Bottle offers a startlingly intimate portrait of the alcoholic's life -- and of the corageous journey to recovery.
Susan Cheever is the bestselling author of thirteen previous books, including five novels and the memoirs Note Found in a Bottle and Home Before Dark. Her work has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Boston Globe Winship Medal. She is a Guggenheim Fellow, a member of the Corporation of Yaddo, and a member of the Author's Guild Council. She teaches in the Bennington College M.F.A. program. She lives in New York City with her family.
Judy Collins Susan Cheever's new memoir, Note Found in a Bottle, is the brilliantly written and deeply moving story of a woman's spiritual journey. Her captivating prose illuminates, in riveting detail, the pain and joy of a life in transformation. With humor, insight, and inspiration, she tells of a pilgrimage through darkness to light, vividly describing the mysterious alchemy of her drinking and where it took her and [gives us] a powerful story of chaos transformed into serenity, pain transformed by love. This is an important book and I was deeply moved by it.
Erica Jong Out of razor blades and rosebuds, Susan Cheever has fashioned a stunning story of spiritual rebirth. It breaks your heart while it makes you laugh out loud. I plan to read it again and again.
Maggie Scarf Note Found in a Bottle ushers the reader into a world of old wealth, immense talent, wild wit, sexual betrayal, celebrity, drugs, and alcohol, alcohol, alcohol. If F. Scott Fitzgetald were writing in the '90s, this might be what it would sound like. Susan Cheever's new memoir is completely mesmerizing.