Tuesday, January 27, 2009

John Updike, RIP

According to the New York Times, John Updike has passed away. He was 76. He was a towering figure in American literature, and better eulogies than this are forthcoming. I will say that Updike wrote several stories had a massive impact on me. When I read his short story "The Christian Roommates," about two dissimilar roommates at Harvard, is among my favorite short stories, and sets a literary tone that I've searched for in every bit of campus literature I've read since. And of course "A&P," taught in every writing class on the planet, is a masterwork.

Of his novels, I've only read Rabbit, Run, but others have been on my eternally growing to-read list. If any of you have a particular recommendation or any thoughts about Updike and his passing, I'd love to hear them in the comments.

3 Comments:

At 10:43 PM, Blogger unemployed one said...

roger's version is great. appropriate for Pasadena's connection to theology.

 
At 12:36 AM, Anonymous coffee said...

John Updike possessed a truly beautiful mind; he didn't just write well, he wrote wisely

 
At 1:25 PM, Blogger Petrea said...

When I was a kid, my mother spent many months holed up in her office working on what turned out to be one of the first books of Updike literary criticism. Since her death I've felt connected to her through him. I miss them both.

REQUIEM
by John Updike

It came to me the other day:
Were I to die, no one would say,
"Oh, what a shame! So young, so full
Of promise—depths unplumbable!"

Instead, a shrug and tearless eyes
Will greet my overdue demise;
The wide response will be, I know,
"I thought he died a while ago."

For life's a shabby subterfuge,
And death is real, and dark, and huge.
The shock of it will register
Nowhere but where it will occur.

from his forthcoming collection, "Endpoint and Other Poems" …

 

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