thetic judgments, and scientificnknowledge will be present. These willnform the outlooks and suboutlooks ofnthe society. Thus there can never benan ‘end’ of outlooks or suboutlooks.nThe contention arose from the failurento distinguish these and ideology innthe sense here understood. [FromnShils’s article on “Ideology” in the In-nClever WritingnJohn Cheever: Oh What a Paradise ItnSeems; Alfred A. Knopf; New York.nGeorge Steiner: The Portage to SannCristobal of A.H.; Simon & Schuster;nNew York.nby Linda ThornenJ few years ago I received a copy ofnJohn Cheever’s Falconer ^s a gift. Today,nI can remember little of the book exceptnthat its cover was bright blue, with typenin silver and white; of the writing itself Inremember only three recurring words:nFalconer, Farragut, fratricide. I loanednthe book to one of my English professorsnwho returned it to me with a succinctnnote attached: “It’s a good Americannnovel, not a great American novel.” OfnOh What a Paradise It Seems, Cheever’snlatest and last novel, I suspect he mightnsimply have said, “It is an Americannnovel.” Beyond that, it is a contemporarynAmerican novel which managesnto cover, in the short space of 100 pages, anbroad range of topics one might just asneasily read about in most morning newspapers:nthe alienation of the elderly; sexnwithout love, both hetero- and homosexual;nmurder; organized crime; unscrupulousnpsychiatrists; group therapy;npollution; a population seeking God, angod, an icon, nirvana, individual Eden.nBut oh how embroidered with literarynartifice it is.nMs. Thome is assistant to the director ofncollege publications at the Universitynof Chicago.n32inChronicles of Cultorentemational Encyclopedia of the SocialnSciences (%%).nIn brief, political man is no simple integernin a social equation. In politics, asnin life generally, man is, as Eric Voegelinnputs it, -iiparticipant in the structure ofnbeing of which he is a part. DnLemuel Sears shares his Christiannname with a famous traveler of a formernage who, like Sears, journeys and seeksnsomeone of his own kind. The actual talenof his quest begins with a line fromnWilliam Butler Yeats’s “Sailing to Byzantium”n: “An aged man is but a paltrynthing.” But just as appropriate for Sears’snlot is the poem’s first line: “That is noncountry for old men”—and particularlynnot for old men who live in an age whennyouth seems to be the ideal. For Lemueln”This is perfect Cheever; it is perfivi. piriod.nSears’s wanderings hardly take him tonthe “holy city of Byzantium.” Thosenhe encounters along the way are, likenhimself, travelers in search of that magicalnand individually defined “something.”nOears’s female love interest is an independentnfemale who regularly attendsn”self-help” meetings—to stop eating,ndrinking, or smoking, Sears knows notnwhich—and frequendy tells him: “Youndon’t understand the first thing aboutnwomen.” We don’t understand the firstnthing about her, whose exit from Sears’snlife is as abrupt as her entrance into it,nnor, most likely, are we meant to. Rejected,nSears forms a brief homosexualnliaison with an elevator operator. Wenknow litde more of his life and motivationsnthan we did of hers: he’s married,nhas two sons, and will take his wife to KeynWest after having spent the first days ofnhis vacation with Sears, flycasting for fishnnnin Beasley’s Pond, which hasn’t supportednlife in ten years. Then there is thenself-serving analyst in whose hands Searsnplaces himself, seeking help to allay hisnfears of having to declare himself anhomosexual. A repressed homosexualnhimself, the analyst interprets Sears’snquite normal statements to be evidencenof neurosis and, almost in the samenbreath, asks Sears to refer more patientsnto him. In much the same way as mbbishnpollutes Beasley’s Pond, which comes tonsymbolize Sears’s longing for love and anreturn to innocence, these people pollutenSears’s life. And so the tale unwinds,ncataloguing the cliches of modern existence.nIn the end, the pond is restored tonits pristine state, Sears’s life is returned tonequanimity, and if his outer and innernlandscapes, even taken together, don’tnquite equal the holy city of Byzantium,nthey are reasonably close facsimiles.nAnd, of course, we wouldn’t have expectednit to end any other way. Thereinnlies another of the book’s faults: for all ofn—John U-nnardneiv York Times Hoitt Rcvicu-nthe unpredictability of its characters, it isnquite predictable in its resolution.nGranted, one could ascribe that to thenirony operating throughout, the firstnclue being the use of “seems” in the title.nOther ironies abound: Sears, the computer-companynexecutive who depletes thenCarpathians of mineral deposits to advancentechnology yet decries the pollutionnof a rural pond; the psychiatrist whonseeks his patient’s help; the seeminglyncontented family man who engages innhomosexual activities. The book’s tonenis, for the most part, tongue-in-cheek.nAnd nothing is quite as it seems. JohnnCheever was clearly a clever man. His lastnwork is a decent book, a well-writtennbook, a sometimes-entertaining book,nbut certainly not a great book. It tries, tonquote T. S. Eliot’s J. Alfred Prufrocknmisquoting Andrew Marvell, “to havensqueezed the universe into a ball.” Itnends up with a blob.n