I feel so sad about John Updike

As I was sitting on the beach in Belize, writing about the great January 27 snowstorm, John Updike was dying.

He has been a part of my life for so long. Since I first read Couples, in that strange libidinous decade of the seventies. Since my writer friend Terry and I found Shillington on a map and went there; found someone in the Town Hall who knew where his house was; and then, miraculously, found another person who drove us out of town to the house where he unhappily moved at 13. Since I learned he stuttered and had psoriasis.

Terry Gross interviewed him just after Self-Consciousness was published, and she replayed excerpts from that interview yesterday. “It’s a strange thing,” he said, “to be born into a certain body instead of an ideal body.”

Maybe it’s just that I can still listen to his voice, but it does seem as though what was born into that certain body, and left that body Tuesday, is still out there somewhere.

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3 Responses to I feel so sad about John Updike

  1. coffee says:

    the loss of John Updike makes me wonder if the literary world is being replenished at the same rate that it’s losing such great writers

  2. Curtis says:

    Updike was the only “modern” writer who made into English majors’ curriculums when I was in college. He had a beautiful awareness of several worlds. He was an inspiration, though too often tedious, don’t you think? I just don’t get the sadness?

  3. celebratingtime says:

    Some of his writing was tedious and labored – for example I just tried to read The Widows of Eastwick and couldn’t do it (had the same problem with the Witches!). But his short stories in the New Yorker were little perfectly-written jewels, and it is these that I will miss. Plus I used to like to think about him up there writing away in Massachusetts, and now I don’t like to think that his great sensibility is nowhere.

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