Sunday, December 16, 2007

John Updike

As heroes go, Rabbit isn’t much. A 26-year-old father and husband who spends his days pitching kitchen equipment and his nights dealing with a sullen, drunken wife, his youth is fading fast, and with it, any real chance for glory. So one afternoon, as much on a whim as anything, he flees. The closest thing he can give for a reason is that his wife, Janice, asked for cigarettes after he told her he’d decided to quit; it’s partly that, and it’s partly because he thinks she’s an idiot. But Rabbit isn’t much for introspection. He’s not all that smart. It seems like he doesn’t really understand why he’s running—he just does it because it’s something he can do. --Zack Handlen, Better Late Than Never? A.V. Club, March 6, 2009, review of Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

Updike wasn't predictable, nor dependable in the quality of his novels but he was a gift. It's sad to think of a world without new Updike novels. --TS, Appreciating Appreciation, Video meliora, proboque; Deteriora sequor, February 6, 2009 its best, Mr Updike’s writing represented the experience of his own generation of silent Americans—men, especially, who grew up in the shadow of the second world war and God-fearing austerity, only to find themselves bemused participants in the swinging sixties and the decades of consumer excess. --The Economist, An American subversive, January 29, 2009

Updike's quartet of signature novels - beginning with Rabbit Run and ending with Rabbit at Rest - follow car salesman Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom from his days as a former high-school basketball star through his failing marriage and financial success to old age and decline. Rabbit is the ordinary American living his ordinary middle-class American life as major social and political events begin to change the nation. --Geeta Sharma Jensen, Updike pioneered suburban novel, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 28, 2009

In addition to the Rabbit novels, the best places to start reading Updike are his short story collections (such as the expansive The Early Stories: 1953-1975) and ephemera collections (such as 2007's Due Considerations). --Noel Murray, John Updike: 1932 - 2009, A.V. Club, January 27, 2009

He has now written tens of thousands of sentences, many of them tiny miracles of transubstantiation whereby some hitherto overlooked datum of the human or natural world — from the anatomical to the zoological, the socio-economic to the spiritual — emerges, as if for the first time, in the complete­ness of its actual being. --Sam Tanenhaus, Mr. Wizard, The New York Times, October 24, 2008, review of The Widows of Eastwick, by John Updike

Flights, by Julian Barnes, The New York Review of Books, June 11, 2009, review of My Father's Tears and Other Stories, by John Updike, Endpoint and Other Poems, by John Updike, and The Maples Stories, by John Updike

The Road Home, by T. Coraghessan Boyle, The New York Times, June 5, 2009, review of My Father's Tears, by John Updike

Review by Noel Murray of Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism by John Updike, A.V. Club, December 13, 2007

A theological reminiscence by John Updike by Philip Blosser, Musings of a Pertinacious Papist, November 17, 2006 11:05 PM

The I's Have It: At 72, John Updike Still Hasn't Run Out Of Things to Write About . . . John Updike, by Linton Weeks, Washington Post, May 5, 2004

Rabbit Trails to God: John Updike has made a career of writing the most theological novels in America, by Mark A. Buchanan, Christianity Today (on-line) July 3, 2003

Talking Books: With John Updike by Steve Paulson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, January 26, 2003

Gossip in Gilt, review by James Wood of Licks of Love: Short Stories and a Sequel, 'Rabbit Remembered' by John Updike, London Review of Books, April 19, 2001

Off-Centaur, by Jonathan Miller, review of The Centaur by John Updike, The New York Review of Books, February 1, 1963

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