John Updike was the first person to make me laugh. I don’t remember this, but I have it on good authority: My father, who was his classmate at college, just sent me this sketch of the scene. The place was Cambridge, Mass.; the year was 1959:
“One day for some reason John came to Read More
John Updike realized New York City was too small for him shortly after his second child was born. The family’s two-room apartment on West 13th Street just wasn’t going to cut it, he realized, and so, in a fit of what he would later call inspiration, he picked up and moved to Ipswich, Mass. He’d Read More
I interviewed him for Tina Brown’s Vanity Fair over coffee in the lobby of the Royalton, in August 1990. He was in town to push a book, of course—he always had a book to push! I forget which. It was the height of Vanity Fair and of the Royalton as the company cafeteria, and my Read More
Though New York could not claim John Updike as a native son, nor even an adopted one (he preferred the flinty seaports of New England to our glittering streets), surely the greatest concentration of his devotees live here. Perhaps in the excruciatingly detailed depiction of suburban malaise that filled his best, or at least his Read More
John Updike died today at the age of 76 after a battle with lung cancer. Paul Bogaards, the executive publicity director at Knopf, confirmed the news just now. He said there are no details about services yet but that they would made available later today.
Cuddly in His Rabbit Suit, Clever Read More
Yesterday, The Guardian‘s Alison Flood reported on the winners of this year’s ‘Bad Sex Awards,’ which included John Updike for "Lifetime Achievement."
According to Ms. Flood, the award, which are given out by The Literary Review, was bestowed on Mr. Updike "after the American author realised the ‘unique achievement’ of four Read More
The lucky winner of the Literary Review’s annual Bad Sex in Fiction award will be announced this week. The award was established in 1993 by the late Auberon Waugh (son of Evelyn) in the quixotic hope that it would dissuade writers from introducing “unconvincing, perfunctory, embarrassing or redundant passages of a sexual nature in otherwise Read More
The Widows of Eastwick
By John Updike
Alfred A. Knopf, 308 pages, $24.95
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes. —Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1
Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? The return of The Witches of Eastwick?
If only. John Updike’s weird sisters, returned now as widows, aren’t so much wicked Read More
Yesterday on The New York Times‘ Paper Cuts book blog, Times Book Review and ‘Week in Review’ editor Sam Tanenhaus took a look at James Wood’s How Fiction Works, specifically, Mr. Wood’s critique of John Updike.
As Mr. Tanenhaus writes, "Wood suggests that Updike’s fiction doesn’t work very well at all, Read More
You know exactly what you’re going to get when you open the latest New Yorker (March 24, $4.50) and see an excerpt from Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris’ Standard Operating Procedure, which is due out in mid-May, a few weeks after the release of Mr. Morris’ documentary of the same name. It’s a recurring nightmare, Read More