John Updike, 1932 – 2009

January 27, 2009

John Updike has died at age 76.

Updike influenced my writing – and me – in several different ways.  I was impressed – enamored, actually – of his portrayal of disfunctional couples.  It was endlessly fascinating at the time, during my very conflicted marriage.  Updike’s stories about Richard and Joan Maple, collected in Too Far to Go, are special  gems, and highly recommended.

John Updike’s and  John Cheever’s short stories – and the two are always grouped together in my head at having happened about the same time –  impressed me with their technique and flowing lyricism.    The writing is so crystal clear as to be intimidating to other writers.  Except for a couple of their books, I actually preferred their short stories over their novels.

For some reason I was never much enamored of the Updike’s Rabbit books, and I don’t know why.  Nor was I impressed with Henry Bech.  Yet Updike’s Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom’s books remain on my shelf waiting for the attempted read.  Times change, tastes change, and what suits you at one point doesn’t suit you at another, and visa versa.

Yet Updike is almost always suitable.  He  will definitely be missed.


2 Responses to “John Updike, 1932 – 2009”

  1. coffee Says:

    the loss of John Updike makes me wonder if the literary world is being replenished at the same rate that it’s losing such great writers

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