Saying the unsayable

Exploring the extraordinary ordinary dimensions of our lives has always been John Updike’s métier, in which he is peerless among American mid-20th-century writers. His writings, perhaps his short stories most powerfully, relentlessly expose a predictable dialectic: “Discontent, conflict, waste, sorrow, fear—these are the worthy dynamic subjects. Yet our hearts expect happiness, as an underlying norm, and its absence seems news worth delivering.” The 103 stories collected here offer an astute exploration of the significance of literary art, a transparent domestic chronicle of two American decades, and a silhouette of Updike’s personal life.

 

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