The early sections of reviews and essays wring the mind and heart.
Easy erudition In his new essay collection, John Updike offers an effortless mastery of form and content Updike shown in at the Boston Public Library writes from "an adolescent yearning to become a professional writer.
Pritchard December 9, Due Considerations: Very gracefully indeed, for after a dedicatory confession of agedness "To David Remnick and Henry Finder who kept me in the game into the late innings" he entertainingly apologizes for the book's length.
He had hoped that "thanks to the dwindling powers of old age" the collection would be significantly shorter than its recent predecessors, each around pages.
No such luck, since after sorting and selecting "there was no escaping the accumulated weight of my daily exertions. He couldn't stop it if he tried. Like previous collections, "Due Considerations" contains a number of excellent essays and introductions about writers and their works: By far the largest section of pages - roughly of them - are devoted to reviews of current fiction, and herein lies a problem for the reader who proposes not just to sample Updike's prose but face up to it in detail.
For no one but the most well read of fiction consumers is likely to have read many of the novels he writes about with such care and at length. In fact it is the very capaciousness and particularity of his treatment of a given novelist that may cause the putative reader of, say, Orhan Pamuk or Michel Houellebecq to shy away from what Updike has to say about their books - not wanting to approach them with such well-articulated preconceptions.
In his preface he wonders whether his "customary geniality" when he's dealing with a foreign writer or factual topic doesn't "sour" somewhat when he reviews a novel by an American contemporary. I didn't find this to be the case, and even if there is partial truth in it - after all, he should know - it would only slightly qualify what is invariably a generous and carefully directed attempt to let the novel speak for itself as well as be spoken about by the critic.
Nothing could be further from his procedures as a fiction reviewer than the slash-and-burn operations of a Christopher Hitchens or a James Wolcott, critical minds not to be taken lightly but not always to be trusted.
Updike's aim is that of "urging authors upon us," and if at times the urging seems more than we need more than 14 pages on three novels of the Australian Peter Carey so be it.
In contrast to the voluminous novel reviews, there is little engagement with poets: On the basis of two essays included here, an introduction to his selection of poems by the neglected Karl Shapiro, and a longish review of Philip Larkin's second "Collected Poems," we must regret his shyness.
His overview of Shapiro's work - his second volume, "V-Letter and Other Poems," won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry - is by far the best introduction to a poet whose long and strenuous life was devoted "to the modernist battle.
His extended description of the sequence made up by the first 10 poems of Larkin's first mature collection, "The Less Deceived," is a model of attentive reading and listening. Updike wrote his Harvard undergraduate thesis on Herrick and followed it with 50 years' worth of his own verse - not bad equipment for the critic of poetry.
White, about cartoons and cartoonists, Saul Steinberg and William Steig, all of predictably high quality. What's astonishing, as always, is how Updike manages to turn out 1, words or less of interest on any subject, as when GQ asked him, into select his favorite year from the disappearing century.
He chosethe year in which "nothing much happened, which was the beauty and wonder of it": It was a world of backyard gardens, of men wearing sweat-stained fedoras and suspenders, of Flag Day and give-away cigarettes and Dish Night at the movies.
Fifty years later, in a foreword to a limited edition of his "Licks of Love," he is 68, "an age at which most of my age-peers have retired and a few have already died.John Updike contributed fiction, poetry, essays, and criticism to The New Yorker for a half benjaminpohle.com is the author of twenty-two novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Rabbit Is Rich.
by John Updike Knopf, pp., $ Every eight or nine years over the past four decades John Updike has published a collection of reviews, essays, sketches, memoirs, and miscellaneous prose. criticism from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner opens with a skeptical overview of literary biographies, proceeds to five essays on topics ranging from China and small change to faith and late works, and takes upunder the heading "General Considerations"books, poker, cars.
"A drop of truth, of lived experienced, glistens in each." This is how John Updike modestly described his nonfiction pieces, of which Due Considerations is perhaps his . The John Updike Radio Files - Open Source with Christopher Lydon.
Jul 3, I admired many of his novels and most of his criticism; though aware of his poetry, An Updike alter ego, John Nordholm, looks back in tender Minutely autobiographical and gorgeously shaped, Separating is perhaps the.
This book celebrates a lifelong love affair. Like the previous round-ups of his nonfictional prose that John Updike has published every eight or nine years since , it brings together a.