28 January 2009

On Updike

Thank goodness someone said it before I had to:
"I realize this is going to sound callous, but: Another author had to go and die on me before I read any of his masterpieces."
Exactly my response, Emily. I know Updike mostly through his New Yorker stories and from a "Literary Pairs" class I took in high school where we read his GERTRUDE AND CLAUDIUS along with "Hamlet." (Other pairing: "Beowulf" and John Gardner's GRENDEL.) Reading the tributes at least has made me aware of what I've been missing.


Wade Garrett said...

The Rabbit Angstrom novels are about as good as it gets, but what impressed me most about Updike wasn't that he was able to write five or six classic novels over the course of his career, but rather than he published something every month, and all of it was stylish and insightful, even if it didn't end up being considered "a classic."

Also, as somebody who stutters, Updike is sort of a hero to me - one reason he got into writing was because he stuttered and had an easier time expressing himself through writing than through speech.

Ellen said...

He really was amazingly prolific -- his WIDOWS OF EASTWICK came out just a few months ago, albeit to somewhat mixed reviews.