Harking from the golden age of fiction set in American suburbia - the school of John Updike and Cheever - these three works from the great American humorist Peter De Vries look with laughter upon its lawns, its cocktails, and its slightly unreal feeling of comfort. De Vries' classic situation comedy The Tunnel of Love follows the interactions of a socially insecure, pun-loving family man, an officious lady caseworker from an adoption agency, and a chauvinist pig - all suburban neighbors who kw far too much about one ather's private lives in this goofy and gently hilarious tale of marital quibbles. A manic epic, Reuben, Reuben is really three books in one, tied together by a 1950s suburban Connecticut setting and hyper-literate cast of characters. A corruptible chicken farmer fearful for the fate of his beloved town, a womanizing poet from Wales (Dylan Thomas in disguise), and a hapless British poet-cum-actor-and-agent all take turns as narrator, revealing different, even conflicting views. But alcoholism, sexism, small-mindedness, and calamity challenge the high spirits of De Vries' well-read suburbanites. Without a Stitch in Time, a selection of forty-six articles and stories written for the New Yorker between 1943 and 1973, offers pun-filled autobiographical vignettes that reveal the source of De Vries' nervous wit: the cognitive dissonance between his Calvinist upbringing in 1920s Chicago and the all-too-perfect postwar world.
Peter De Vries (1910-93) was the man responsible for contributing to the cultural vernacular such witticisms as Nostalgia ain't what it used to be and Deep down, he's shallow. He was the author of many books, including the classics Slouching Towards Kalamazoo and The Blood of the Lamb, both also published by the University of Chicago Press.