Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Updike at rest

I'm reading Hanif Kureishi's Something to Tell You at the moment and had just reached the sentence, "I was reminded of a book, Updike's Couples…" when I heard that John Updike is dead. He published The Widows of Eastwick only a few months ago and had outlived his greatest creation – he extended the great Rabbit series beyond the death of its central character, Rabbit Angstrom. I would recommend, too, his Bech books; light they may be but in them the author Updike seems truly free.

I tend to group Updike with Philip Roth and Saul Bellow (Roth is exactly a year less a day Updike's junior). But while Roth's prose tends to roll in waves, and Bellow's books build into one giant crest, Updike would be sitting on the beach, tending for a glimpse of pubic hair from a bikini crotch. He was a writer who loved cunt.

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