To complement his work as a fiction writer, John Updike accepted any number of odd jobsabook reviews and introductions, speeches and tributes, a afew paragraphsa on baseball or beauty or Borgesaand saw each as aan opportunity to learn something, or to extract from within some unsuspected wisdom.a In this, his largest collection of assorted prose, he brings generosity and insight to the works and lives of William Dean Howells, George Bernard Shaw, Philip Roth, Muriel Spark, and dozens more. Novels from outposts of postmodernism like Turkey, Albania, Israel, and Nigeria are reviewed, as are biographies of Cleopatra and Dorothy Parker. The more than a hundred considerations of books are flanked, on one side, by short stories, a playlet, and personal essays, and, on the other, by essays on his own oeuvre. Updikeas odd jobs would be any other writeras chief work.... installments, and areaders scrambled in front of the [newspaper] building to buy back issues in order to collect the entire series. ... was loaded with contraband American goodsarefrigerators, television sets, washing machinesathat spilled from the deck in heavy seas on a sunny day. ... In its exposition of suffering solitude it ranks with Admiral Byrda#39;s Alone and Mungo Parka#39;s Travels; along with the stoicanbsp;...
|Publisher||:||Random House - 2012-12-04|