Jan 30, 2009

R.I.P. John Updike

I'm saddened by the news of John Updike's death on Tuesday of lung cancer. He was America's quintessential man of letters. In an extraordinarily poorly-timed story, the Marin Independent Journal ran a syndicated interview with Updike on the day of his death in which Updike was optimistic about his future writing. What a shame we won't be reading it.

With prodding from George, we've discussed several times reading one of Updike's novels. Maybe that time has now come.

1 comment:

jeff said...

The Great Apes also mourn the passing of one of America's greatest writers. I feel indeed fortunate that I was able to hear him read and speak in 2004 since that was the only time I had an opportunity. He was everything I had hoped he'd be that evening and my admiration and respect for him grew after attending that presentation.

Is Cormac McCarthy now America's greatest living writer?

In thinking of picking an Updike title, you really cannot go wrong. His pointed social commentary lends itself to solid discussion. I suppose the first two (not so much the second two, IMHO) Rabbit books are logical choices as they garnered him a big chunk of his reputation, but I really liked A Month of Sundays, Seek My Face, and Villages, and I know readers who swear by his re-telling of the Hamlet story, Gertrude and Claudius. However, coming on the heels of your Edgar Sawtelle discussion might be a bit too much Hamlet for any of us! I know I've read some of the Bech books, but I'm not remembering them very well right now. I'll continue to watch your blog to see if an Updike title makes your list.

Read on, MBC!