John Updike’s memoirs consist of six Emersonian essays that together trace the inner shape of the life, up to the age of fifty-five, of a relatively fortunate American male. The author has attempted, his foreword states, “to treat this life, this massive datum which happens to be mine, as a specimen life, representative in its odd uniqueness of all the oddly unique lives in this world.” In the service of this metaphysical effort, he has been hair-raisingly honest, matchlessly precise, and self-effacingly humorous. He takes the reader beyond self-consciousness, and beyond self-importance, into sheer wonder at the miracle of existence.
About the Author
John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker, and since 1957 has lived in Massachusetts. He is the author of fifty-odd previous books, including twenty novels and numerous collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His fiction has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal.
“Fascinating . . . These memoirs, often unabashedly philosophical, take us inside Updike’s mind in the way that biography almost never can.”—Chicago Tribune
“Opulent . . . charming . . . [Updike’s] best writing, like Nabokov’s, is the prose of rapture.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Poignant . . . wonderfully crafted recollections . . . One completes this book wanting to convey some signal of gratitude, some affectionate reader’s embrace, to this good boy of a grown man who has striven so earnestly and masterly to describe life.”—Chicago Sun-Times