John Updike

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Just started Rabbit, Run and am really enjoying it. He'll narrate for a bit and then will hit you with a great sentence, then just puts you down right where you left off. I wish I could find the specific one I'm thinking of, but I've lost it.

Also has anyone read U and I by Nick Baker?

57 7th (calstars), Saturday, 13 November 2004 14:14 (fifteen years ago) link

Yes, I enjoyed the Nicholson Baker. Updike may be my favourite living writer - do keep going with this series, as they get better and better, and Harry builds into as great a fictional creation as I've ever encountered.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Saturday, 13 November 2004 17:01 (fifteen years ago) link

ive read "U&I" 4 or 5 times - it's one of my favourite books and Baker's best, without a doubt. It's not really about Updike, though, it's about... other things. One of the things it's definatley about is how we all live a fantasy life in our heads with people we admire.

"Rabbit, Run" is the book i have made most aborted attempts to read (beautiful sentences, yes) and the only other book of Updike's i have read is the beautiful "Self Consciousness" which is a (sort of) autobiography.

jed_ (jed), Saturday, 13 November 2004 19:20 (fifteen years ago) link

U&I is also one of the funniest books i have ever read.

jed_ (jed), Saturday, 13 November 2004 19:21 (fifteen years ago) link

Absolutely love U&I - one of those books I go back to over and over, whenever I'm despairing about writing or about life. I'm halfway through the Rabbit books, and have read a couple of others, and I'm more admiring of him than adoring. I feel like Updike has always been working incredibly hard to get an A++++ in being a novelist, and it gives his books an impersonal, overpolished aura. Even the really moving parts, the stuff where he ought to really lose himself, seems to me written with one eye directed toward the Universal Report Card of Literature. At the end of every really beautiful sentence or passage (and there are tons) you feel him pat himself on the back.

David Elinsky (David Elinsky), Sunday, 14 November 2004 05:23 (fifteen years ago) link

It's funny -- Rabbit is, basically, a total dick. And not to be dismissive (reductive, whatever), but innit amazing how Updike can keep such a jerk fascinating for so long? I shed some tears at the end of Rabbit at Rest, and for a (fictional) man, for whom I never realized I'd cultivated an interest.

Remy (x Jeremy), Sunday, 14 November 2004 07:39 (fifteen years ago) link

I read the first three Rabbit books last winter and I'll read Rabbit At Rest in a month or two. I'm looking forward to returning to Brewer, cheerfully trying to ignore my sense that Remy's post is a spoiler. I mean, he'll only be 59, right?

What do people think of his actually writing the books 10 years apart for 40 years? What kind of confidence does it take to start a project this when you're, what was he, 25 years old? I'd like to know more about that actually, how much he had planned or envisioned what was to come for Rabbit.

Of the three Updike short stories I can immediately recall, I hated the one that appeared in the Atlantic about religion & 9/11, thought Should Wizard Hit Mommy? was mediocre, and really like The Walk With Elizanne. Probably because I was a band dork.

W i l l (common_person), Monday, 15 November 2004 17:20 (fifteen years ago) link

I've only read the first, thought it depressing and brilliant. I think I may wait ten years between reading each book.

MikeyG (MikeyG), Monday, 15 November 2004 17:49 (fifteen years ago) link

i dont think he planned the Rabbit Series beforehand or even envisaged it as being a series. What writer thinks they are going to be around 30 years from now to write the 4th installment or that people will care? it just came one book at a time.

jed_ (jed), Monday, 15 November 2004 18:28 (fifteen years ago) link

I gave my view on U&I on ILB, once, but it was disapproved of, somehow.

I think it's a marvellously entertaining little book.

Updike was reputedly on The Simpsons the other night.

the bellefox, Tuesday, 16 November 2004 18:04 (fifteen years ago) link

Almost done with Rabbit, Run. Great!

57 7th (calstars), Thursday, 18 November 2004 14:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Updike was on The Simpsons a few years ago in a mildly humorous cameo as Krusty's ghost biographer. Thomas Pynchon was on last week, pointlessly.

W i l l (common_person), Thursday, 18 November 2004 21:52 (fifteen years ago) link

i really liked "seek my face" which i thought was much different (plot-wise) than most of his earlier novels, but still full of that strikingly rich langauge.

j c (j c), Friday, 19 November 2004 00:45 (fifteen years ago) link

i've heard he was very boring so i just avoided him but this thread made me order rabbit, run; i hope it's good. it sounds like it should be, really.

John (jdahlem), Friday, 19 November 2004 19:03 (fifteen years ago) link

one month passes...
I'm halfway through Rabbit is Rich now...

57 7th (calstars), Thursday, 30 December 2004 19:19 (fifteen years ago) link

I can't get behind everything Updike has ever written, and there certainly is quite a bit of it, but he has written some of the most gorgeous sentences ever.

A few highlights come to mind: the last paragraph of Rabbit Redux has something along the lines of "In the air above them, all sorts of winged presences were making themselves felt." Magnificent.

There is a shortish short story called "The Brown Chest," I think it is in the collection called The Afterlife, that goes "the sweetish deep cedary smell, undiminished, cedar and camphor and paper and cloth, the smell of family, family without end."

My grudging affection for Updike resides more in these little bits of crystal-perfect language than in anything to do with the themes and plots and ideas.

That said, Roger's Version and The Centaur are undeniably good novels. Museums and Women is my favorite of his story collections, mostly because of the piece "Under the Microscope" which envisions a cocktail party attended by single-celled organisms.

His light verse is also quite delightful if you like that sort of thing. Here's one:


The scum has come.
My cocoa's cold.
The cup is numb,
And I grow old.

It seems an age
Since from the pot
It bubbled, beige
And boiling hot.

To hot to be
Too quickly quaffed
I found a draft

And in it placed
The boiling brew
And took a taste
Of toast or two.

Alas, time flies,
As oft time will
My cocoa lies
Dull brown and still

How wearisome!
In likelihood
The scum, once come,
is come for good.

The Mad Puffin (The Mad Puffin), Thursday, 13 January 2005 16:16 (fifteen years ago) link

I just can't get behind his Waspy lushness guys, sorry. He is like the Ralph Lauren of writers.

Ken L (Ken L), Thursday, 13 January 2005 16:50 (fifteen years ago) link

"Waspy lushness" is not a bad way of putting it.

It's no surprise that I like him most when a gimmick takes him out of that milieu (like finding God with a computer in Roger's Version, having mythological characters run a high school in The Centaur, partying with amoebas in "Under the Microscope.")

Like I said, he can be quite infuriating and overblown but every once in a while he comes up with something so heartbreakingly beautiful that I forgive him (temporarily).

The Mad Puffin (The Mad Puffin), Thursday, 13 January 2005 17:09 (fifteen years ago) link

I don't mind Waspy lushness, sometimes. I think Updike is great. I found Rabbit, Run a bit difficult to get through at first -- not that the writing is complicated or anything, you're just looking to find something to latch onto -- but once I got into it, I gobbled up the rest of the series like candy.

jaymc (jaymc), Thursday, 13 January 2005 17:42 (fifteen years ago) link

(And U&I is fantastic! The best thing Baker has done?)

jaymc (jaymc), Thursday, 13 January 2005 17:43 (fifteen years ago) link

Yesterday, read James Wood on Updike.


the bellefox, Thursday, 13 January 2005 17:58 (fifteen years ago) link

where did you read James Wood on Updike, bellefox? is it available online somewhere? i haven't been able to get a hold of his first essay collection, the broken estate.

David Elinsky (David Elinsky), Thursday, 13 January 2005 19:36 (fifteen years ago) link

The Updike piece is in the New Republic (I don't recall the date). Wood is one of the main book critics at the NR. I don't recall the piece being all that scathing. Wood did, however, argue that rather than crank out the obligatory book a year, Updike should harness his talent and insight to write a great American novel.

Steven Groth (fitch12), Friday, 14 January 2005 16:23 (fifteen years ago) link

I read one about Brazil. I've only just remembered. I think it might be called 'Brazil'. Featured some interesting descriptions of sex organs.

Puddin'Head Miller (PJ Miller), Saturday, 15 January 2005 11:18 (fifteen years ago) link

i just read 'the coup'; found it rather boringly juvenile and vaguely racist. eh.

j c (j c), Sunday, 16 January 2005 18:20 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm going to start Rabbit At Rest tonight, a year after I finished Rabbit Is Rich. In addition to all that, I'm curious to see if the Reverend who was so important in book one but made only one queer cameo in book two and none at all in book three will get any page-space.

W i l l (common_person), Tuesday, 18 January 2005 19:54 (fifteen years ago) link

(moan) there's nothing I resent more than the overdisseminated mediocrity... Updike would be a perfectly acceptable obscurish author, but his geh geh geh geh ubiquity -- near-canonization -- makes me want to move to another goddamn planet...

Ann Sterzinger (Ann Sterzinger), Tuesday, 18 January 2005 20:21 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm on _Rabbit at Rest_ now. Looking back I enjoyed the first two a lot more than the third and this one. More life to them or something.

57 7th (calstars), Wednesday, 19 January 2005 18:48 (fifteen years ago) link

So far (page 87) I'm enjoying reading Updike once again. What was with that weird bit of self-reference when he talks about the word "redux"? Also, I'm afraid the portrayal of Judy fails to be consistent; she goes from crying about getting lost for a few minutes in a parking lot with her grandfather (is that so bad??) to speaking above her age (copy not with me at the moment so no examples). But I still look forward to opening it again tonight.

W i l l (common_person), Wednesday, 19 January 2005 22:23 (fifteen years ago) link

I think I remember feeling the same way about Judy -- children in general, actually -- although I'll have to consult my notes.

jaymc (jaymc), Wednesday, 19 January 2005 22:42 (fifteen years ago) link

children in general, actually

In general = in Updike, in literature, or in general general (i.e. a joke -- I have not spent much time with children while not a child myself so maybe I expect consistency where there shouldn't be) ?

although I'll have to consult my notes

A joke, then? Or you're a better reader than I.

W i l l (common_person), Wednesday, 19 January 2005 23:31 (fifteen years ago) link

I liked the last two of the Rabbit series better than the first two - the character deepens, and his prose improved, became richer, significantly as time went on.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Wednesday, 19 January 2005 23:37 (fifteen years ago) link

The Wood on Updike piece I have does not say what Steven Groth's does. It is very critical, very hard. It is in The Broken Estate. That book is possible to get hold of. I saw one for a fiver only today. It is a very good book, I think.

the bellefox, Thursday, 20 January 2005 17:42 (fifteen years ago) link

Children in Updike. And not a joke about the notes! I mean, I didn't keep a notepad next to my nightstand or anything, but I did write a journal entry or two while reading the Rabbit series in which I jotted down some impressions about the books.

jaymc (jaymc), Friday, 21 January 2005 15:55 (fifteen years ago) link

Ah, I should do that, instead of just recording the title and author and date when I read it. I was trying to remember if I felt similarly about boy Nelson in the second book, think so. I'm in chapter 2, "PA", now. Updike's writing about Florida struck a chord with me since I visited a grandparent there in 1988 at the same age as Judy. He didn't mention the lizards. I remember being pretty fascinated by them.

W i l l (common_person), Saturday, 22 January 2005 00:31 (fifteen years ago) link

Only a hundred pages left. I'm still kind of enjoying it in a manic sleepy way, but I am really looking forward to something else now after four books of Brewer PA.

57 7th (calstars), Tuesday, 25 January 2005 00:19 (fifteen years ago) link

It feels like not a lot is happening in the 4th book, but maybe the momentum from the first three is kind of pushing it along to its conclusion, a lot like its main character.

57 7th (calstars), Tuesday, 25 January 2005 00:21 (fifteen years ago) link

finished last night. Probably over-analyzing, but I enjoyed the structural nod to For Whom the Bell Tolls at the end.

57 7th (calstars), Thursday, 27 January 2005 22:18 (fifteen years ago) link

I finished last night, too. Haven't read For Whom the Bell Tolls. I thought it really picked up after (spoiler alert) Rabbit slept with Pru; Rabbit's being an asshole got to me more than at any other point in the series and I loved it. Then with Nelson's seemingly successful rehab, that was cool, it kept me from being too pissed off at the book, and finally watching the results of Harry's self-destruction was...satisfying. More Updike in the future for me!

W i l l (common_person), Friday, 28 January 2005 17:54 (fifteen years ago) link

two months pass...
What about the Bech books?

57 7th (calstars), Monday, 4 April 2005 12:56 (fifteen years ago) link

I agree with the slightly negative view of Updike as a writer of sentences rather than novels. I've only read the first two Rabbit books but they were both a bit of an effort to get through. I can pick him up and read a paragraph and think "what a writer" but he wants to load every rift with ore and I find it wearing over a longer stretch.

frankiemachine, Monday, 4 April 2005 15:11 (fifteen years ago) link

I agree with the slightly negative view of Updike as a writer of sentences (or perhaps paragraphs) rather than novels. I've only read the first two Rabbit books but they were both a bit of an effort to get through. I can pick him up and read a paragraph and think "what a writer" but he wants to load every rift with ore in a way that I find wearing over a longer stretch.

frankiemachine, Monday, 4 April 2005 15:14 (fifteen years ago) link

The Bech stories are harmless fun. Pretty light in comparison to, say, Roger's Version. Less angst, more sex, more humor.

But at the same time, Bech is not much of a character--more a conduit for Updike to express certain things about the writing life that would have been problematic for him to say with his own mouth.

By which I don't mean that Bech = Updike; rather that Updike used Bech both as a surrogate and as a point of contrast. He's Updike's mouthpiece when he needs him to be, but different enough (Jewish, hornier, less modest) to allow Updike a sort of playground.

The Mad Puffin (The Mad Puffin), Monday, 4 April 2005 16:29 (fifteen years ago) link

one month passes...
Anyone read Marry Me?

On the bass, 57 7th, he wrote this (calstars), Monday, 16 May 2005 12:05 (fifteen years ago) link

Marry Me : his most personal novel, and painfully honest about infidelity and love. Much rawer, emotionally, than anything in Couples of the Rabbit books.
As beautifully written as everything else.

David N (David N.), Tuesday, 17 May 2005 23:12 (fifteen years ago) link

six months pass...
Do you have any interpretation on Updike's poem, January.

Luis Gonzalez, Thursday, 15 December 2005 22:31 (fourteen years ago) link

I've read a couple of Updike's novels and short stories, but it's the nonfiction I end up enjoying the most, from his essays on art to his memoir, Self-Consciousness, which I truly loved.

Collardio Gelatinous (collardio), Tuesday, 20 December 2005 05:12 (fourteen years ago) link

one month passes...
In the poem 'January' what does "trees of lace" mean ????

From a French 12 years girl just arrived in a US school >>.

Margaux, Wednesday, 25 January 2006 22:40 (fourteen years ago) link

I will answer your question if you first tell me how you found this forum. What search engine did you use, and what did you search for?

Jaq (Jaq), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 22:49 (fourteen years ago) link

i have read u&i and enjoy it but do not find it one of the funniest books i have ever read

trees of lace is a reference to the papier-mache bonsai tradition of kyoko

tom west (thomp), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 23:42 (fourteen years ago) link


Old Boy In Network (Michael B), Wednesday, 24 July 2013 19:21 (six years ago) link

lol classic xp

PJ. Turquoise dealer. Chatroulette addict. Andersonville. (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 24 July 2013 19:23 (six years ago) link

maybe it's changed to comradely in later editions - i verbatim copied it out of the copy of the book i have - hardcover, tho sez First Trade Edition 1989 hm

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 24 July 2013 19:28 (six years ago) link

not that it makes me like it, but "comradely" is much better than "brotherly" there and adds a lot of meaning to the passage -- it implies conspiracy and secret revolt rather than incest

PJ. Turquoise dealer. Chatroulette addict. Andersonville. (Hurting 2), Wednesday, 24 July 2013 19:38 (six years ago) link

The 60's man

― waterface, Wednesday, July 24, 2013 3:05 PM (46 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this is otm btw. the very next sentence (which tbf is a new paragraph), he talks abt smoking pot and wearing dashikis. the essay is abt him being the least liberal/dove-ish of his circle of peers

can a lil bit hear his voice saying 'do you take advantage of the new freedoms?'

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 24 July 2013 19:58 (six years ago) link

That single sentence really is quintessential Updike. Vermeer with ski-pants and a hard-on.

only dogg forgives (Eazy), Thursday, 25 July 2013 02:07 (six years ago) link

eight months pass...
eight months pass...

johnny crunch, Thursday, 18 December 2014 02:24 (five years ago) link

Hanging wit U

calstars, Thursday, 18 December 2014 03:25 (five years ago) link

70s swinger look new england division. also is that a bust of the author over the door? the shades made me think of andy warhol

Pontius Pilates (m coleman), Thursday, 18 December 2014 11:39 (five years ago) link

ten months pass...

Messy depths had opened under me, where poverty and government merged. You sleep with someone in a moment of truth and the obligations begin to pile up nightmarishly.

johnny crunch, Saturday, 14 November 2015 00:20 (four years ago) link

three years pass...

bury me in this lede

— rachel syme (@rachsyme) October 2, 2019

mookieproof, Wednesday, 2 October 2019 20:20 (nine months ago) link

It's a great piece.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Thursday, 3 October 2019 02:25 (nine months ago) link

My day has been saved

The Hillbilly Chespirito (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 3 October 2019 02:45 (nine months ago) link

It's so good. I guess I'm going to have to get over the creepy-sounding title of her book, because I want to read more like that.

Dan I., Thursday, 3 October 2019 17:26 (nine months ago) link

(the whole lrb piece, not just the lede)

Dan I., Thursday, 3 October 2019 17:27 (nine months ago) link

i hadn't known about the foster wallace-mary karr thing she obliquely refers to o_O

mookieproof, Thursday, 3 October 2019 18:03 (nine months ago) link

When he is in flight you are glad to be alive. When he comes down wrong – which is often – you feel the sickening turn of an ankle, a real nausea. All the flaws that will become fatal later are present at the beginning. He has a three-panel cartoonist’s sense of plot. The dialogue is a weakness: in terms of pitch, it’s half a step sharp, too nervily and jumpily tuned to the tics and italics and slang of the era. And yes, there are his women. Janice is a grotesquerie with a watery drink in one hand and a face full of television static; her emotional needs are presented as a gaping, hungry and above all unseemly hole, surrounded by well-described hair. He paints and paints them, but the proportions are wrong. He is like a God who spends four hours on the shading on Eve’s upper lip, forgets to give her a clitoris, and then decides to rest on a Tuesday. In the scene where Janice drunkenly drowns the baby, it wasn’t the character I felt pity for but Updike, fumbling so clumsily to get inside her that in the end it’s his hands that get slippery, drop the baby.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 3 October 2019 18:14 (nine months ago) link

ftr I admire Updike's criticism: thanks to him, I discovered Henry Green and Muriel spark, among others. And he was generous toward Cheever. But I could never finish his fiction, not once. The facility, the complacency of the descriptions -- it had a lulling effect. He and Cheever get bound together, but Cheever was fuckin' weird.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 3 October 2019 18:15 (nine months ago) link

Her book, Priestdaddy, is great.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Thursday, 3 October 2019 21:27 (nine months ago) link

Best revive ever

Three Borads and the HOOS (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 3 October 2019 23:46 (nine months ago) link

apart from her lrb pieces, has she been doing criticism elsewhere, because its much better than her other writing. I have her most recent book of poems and it was v disappointing. haven't read priestdaddy though.

plax (ico), Friday, 4 October 2019 08:58 (nine months ago) link

her piece on lucia berlin was good but i haven't read any lucia berlin

plax (ico), Friday, 4 October 2019 08:59 (nine months ago) link

Lucia Berlin is good. Believe the hype.

Three Borads and the HOOS (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 4 October 2019 11:39 (nine months ago) link


Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Friday, 4 October 2019 23:35 (nine months ago) link

Priestdaddy is very much in the voice of her review work

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Friday, 4 October 2019 23:36 (nine months ago) link

well written crit def, i still like updike idk i think hes true to himself/honest in a misogynist & outdated way

johnny crunch, Friday, 4 October 2019 23:56 (nine months ago) link

maybe someone should make a lockwood thread

mookieproof, Saturday, 5 October 2019 02:09 (nine months ago) link

that was a fantastic piece, yeah. especially loved this: "he grows up, in short, but not into a real adult, just into a country club member."

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Saturday, 5 October 2019 06:24 (nine months ago) link

It’s almost as if she absorbed his novelistic style and used it against him and absorbed his critical style as well and used it to restore the balance, to give some semblance of fairness.

Three Borads and the HOOS (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 5 October 2019 15:06 (nine months ago) link

Which is awesome

Three Borads and the HOOS (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 5 October 2019 15:06 (nine months ago) link

I myself used could never pull off such a feat, I used way too many “ands” in that sentence, just to name one thing.

Three Borads and the HOOS (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 5 October 2019 15:12 (nine months ago) link

“If you were worried that somewhere in this sweeping tetralogy Rabbit wasn’t going to ejaculate all over a teenager and then compare the results to a napalmed child, you can rest easy.”

calstars, Saturday, 5 October 2019 16:47 (nine months ago) link

john downdog

lag∞n, Saturday, 5 October 2019 16:49 (nine months ago) link

Yeah nearly bought the Berlin book yesterday but ended up getting a Pavese reader

plax (ico), Saturday, 5 October 2019 17:11 (nine months ago) link

i've only read the first of the rabbit books -- tbh the descriptions and quotes from the later ones in that article sound horrific

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Saturday, 5 October 2019 21:50 (nine months ago) link

Redux is pretty terrible, a mess, but is Rich is his best book, I'd say.

fetter, Monday, 7 October 2019 11:36 (nine months ago) link

Probably the best in this genre of "young woman reviews old white man" that you see a lot of editors in various publications throwing up. Its both a waste of her energies and yet one of her best essays, possibly one of the best things Lockwood will ever write. Which could be depressing.

xyzzzz__, Tuesday, 8 October 2019 21:04 (nine months ago) link

I suspect editors don't really know what to do with her, she's clearly a very talented writer but does not really fit into post huffpo content genres very easily and sits awkwardly between cerebral and literal on one hand and "refreshing" and unpretentious on the other. Some of her poetry is terrible and her interests are so much about style and genre to the extent that when she turns to "real world issues" she can seem very half formed.

plax (ico), Tuesday, 8 October 2019 21:33 (nine months ago) link

Is priestdafdy a real memoir or part fiction ?

calstars, Tuesday, 8 October 2019 23:05 (nine months ago) link

piece is prob the best i've ever read on updike-- always liked the DFW one but it's v slight (+ the line lockwood quotes as its takeaway is iirc a footnote in the voice of a "female acquaintance"); the real previous champ was the vidal essay quoted towards the end, a long and largely biographical piece of character assassination i love to reread

Although Updike seems never to have had any major psychic or physical wound, he has endured all sorts of minor afflictions. In the chapter "At war with my skin," he tells us in great detail of the skin condition that sun and later medicine would clear up; for a long time, however, he was martyr to it as well as a slave to his mirror, all the while fretting about what "normal" people would make of him. As it proved, they don't seem to have paid much attention to an affliction that, finally, "had to do with self love, with finding myself acceptable ... the price high but not impossibly so; I must pay for being me." The price for preserving me certainly proved to be well worth it when, in 1955, he was rejected for military conscription, even though the empire was still bogged down in Korea and our forces were increased that year from 800,000 to three million--less Updike, who, although "it pains me to write these pages," confesses that he was "far from keen to devote two years to the national defense." He was later to experience considerable anguish when, almost alone among serious writers, he would support the Vietnam War on the ground that who am I "to second-guess a president?" One suspects that he envies the clear-skinned lads who so reluctantly fought for the land he so deeply loves.

he also says that in the beauty of the lilies would better be titled the evening dews and damps

anyway, a great long-running lil genre

difficult listening hour, Tuesday, 8 October 2019 23:53 (nine months ago) link

I like the Gilbert Sorrentino takedown of him, but coterie writer of little distinction so not many have read it

Beware of Mr. Blecch, er...what? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 9 October 2019 00:06 (nine months ago) link

I assume Priestdaddy features some fictionalized elements but I also assume that some of the most ridiculous parts are true.

JoeStork, Wednesday, 9 October 2019 00:08 (nine months ago) link

sorrentino is a better and more important writer than updike

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Wednesday, 9 October 2019 01:33 (nine months ago) link


the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Wednesday, 9 October 2019 01:33 (nine months ago) link

More discussion here: updike novels poll

Beware of Mr. Blecch, er...what? (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 9 October 2019 01:42 (nine months ago) link

In the end Wallace loved the sinner, as Updike wanted us to love Rabbit Angstrom. And part of the problem with our 360-degree view of modern authors is knowing where to put any of it. Wallace’s vivisection of Updike’s misogyny seems calm and cool and virtuous, and then you remember that to the best of anyone’s knowledge Updike never tried to push a woman out of a moving car.

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, 9 October 2019 05:50 (nine months ago) link

I suspect editors don't really know what to do with her, she's clearly a very talented writer but does not really fit into post huffpo content genres very easily and sits awkwardly between cerebral and literal on one hand and "refreshing" and unpretentious on the other. Some of her poetry is terrible and her interests are so much about style and genre to the extent that when she turns to "real world issues" she can seem very half formed.

― plax (ico), Tuesday, 8 October 2019 bookmarkflaglink

I've yet to read anything beyond what she's written for the LRB (apart from her tweets) but I think it's working out well. iirc it began as writing on women -- her piece on Cusk was almost necessary because there's a lot of people that can't deal with her -- and the Updike is something else yet you can see the trajectory.

It's the LRB at 40 issue, and a good way to match to Empson on Skakey all the way back.

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 9 October 2019 08:48 (nine months ago) link

I think I'd still take Of the Farm, the first 3 Rabbit books and a few stories with me (wherever that may be). There's something about his rendering of moment-to-moment perception that I like (albeit he's no Nabokov, and Alfred's point about the 'complacency' of his descriptions is naggingly correct). Ach, maybe Lockwood is right and it was just sheer propulsion that dragged me along.

Will look up her memoir, for sure.

Life is a meaningless nightmare of string (Chinaski), Saturday, 12 October 2019 15:30 (nine months ago) link

Jesus - I'd pretty much expunged Skeeter from my mind. OK, I'll drop Redux.

Life is a meaningless nightmare of string (Chinaski), Saturday, 12 October 2019 15:35 (nine months ago) link

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