John Cheever has been called "the Chekhov of the suburbs," but I don't entirely agree with that. His stories are harsh and ugly; they make their characters pathetic at best and offensive at worst. Chekhov is gentle and respectful in comparison--probably in an absolute sense as well, but certainly in comparison with the mud Cheever drags his characters through. I still like Cheever, though. "The Swimmer" is probably the second best short story I've ever read; the only short story that's ever fascinated me more is William Faulkner's "Mountain Victory." With its surrealism, its hidden subtexts, its literary depth and its chilling, desolate end, it's a masterpiece.