Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Updike, Spike - yikes

Continuing my occasional series on notable literary deaths: John Updike died yesterday. One of the most celebrated of late 20th century American authors, his death follows those of Saul Bellow in 2005 and Norman Mailer just over a year ago. Philip Roth must be shitting himself.

By my calculations I've read three Updikes: Rabbit, Run, the mildly scandalous Couples and the slightly bizarre later novel Brazil. I do have a couple of others in the "to be read" pile, but I won't spoil the surprise for you. All good, though (Brazil aside) I can see why some people found his fixation with affluent white middle-class lives and middle-class concerns like wife-swapping and golf a bit stifling. But, as I've said before, if you want attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion, you can always read some books by a different author.

The other notable thing about Updike is how he came, in later life, to resemble a slightly less manic Spike Milligan, as shown here.

No comments: