"In a country recovering from one war and entering others, living under a nuclear shadow, awaiting large-scale social upheavals, no scream could do justice to the American middle-class predicament. Only understatement could."
Jonathan Franzen's appraisal of the phenomenon of "the New Yorker story", as typified by the work of John Updike and John Cheever. Franzen's comment appears in a review of a new volume of New Yorker pieces from the 1950s.
(Thanks to Adam for the link.)