John Updike was born in 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He is the author of over fifty books, including The Poorhouse Fair; the Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest); Marry Me; The Witches of Eastwick, which was made into a major feature film; Memories of the Ford Administration; Brazil; In the Beauty of the Lilies; Toward the End of Time; Gertrude and Claudius; and Seek My Face. He has written a number of collections of short stories, including The Afterlife and Other Stories and Licks of Love, which includes a final Rabbit story, Rabbit Remembered. His essays and criticism first appeared in publications such as the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, and are now collected into numerous volumes. Collected Poems 1953-1993 brings together almost all of his verse, and a new edition of his Selected Poems is forthcoming from Hamish Hamilton. His novels, stories, and non-fiction collections have won have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award and the Howells Medal. Updike graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year at Oxford's Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of staff at the New Yorker, and he lived in Massachusetts from 1957 until his death in January 2009. %%%John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of the New Yorker, to which he has contributed poems, short stories, essays and reviews. Since 1957 he has lived in Massachusetts. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Howells Medal.
John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of the New Yorker, to which he has contributed poems, short stories, essays and reviews. Since 1957 he has lived in Massachusetts. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Howells Medal.
(See Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/06) nonfiction Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Ripped from the headlines doesn't begin to describe Updike's latest, a by-the-numbers novelization of the last five years' news reports on the dangers of home-grown terror that packs a gut punch. Ahmad Mulloy Ashmawy is 18 and attends Central High School in the New York metro area working class city of New Prospect, N.J. He is the son of an Egyptian exchange student who married a working-class Irish-American girl and then disappeared when Ahmad was three. Ahmad, disgusted by his mother's inability to get it together, is in the thrall of Shaikh Rashid, who runs a storefront mosque and preaches divine retribution for "devils," including the "Zionist dominated federal government." The list of devils is long: it includes Joryleen Grant, the wayward African-American girl with a heart of gold; Tylenol Jones, a black tough guy with whom Ahmad obliquely competes for Joryleen's attentions (which Ahmad eventually pays for); Jack Levy, a Central High guidance counselor who at 63 has seen enough failure, including his own, to last him a lifetime (and whose Jewishness plays a part in a manner unthinkable before 9/11); Jack's wife, Beth, as ineffectual and overweight (Updike is merciless on this) as she is oblivious; and Teresa Mulloy, a nurse's aide and Sunday painter as desperate for Jack's attention, when he takes on Ahmad's case, as Jack is for hers. Updike has distilled all their flaws to a caustic, crystalline essence; he dwells on their poor bodies and the debased world in which they move unrelentingly, and with a dispassionate cruelty that verges on shocking. Ahmad's revulsion for American culture doesn't seem to displease Updike one iota. But Updike has also thoroughly digested all of the discursive pap surrounding the post-9/11 threat of terrorism, and that is the real story here. Mullahs, botched CIA gambits, race and class shame (that leads to poor self-worth that leads to vulnerability that leads to extremism), half-baked plots that just might work-all are here, and dispatched with an elegance that highlights their banality and how very real they may be. So smooth is Updike in putting his grotesques through their paces-effortlessly putting them in each others' orbits-that his contempt for them enhances rather than spoils the novel. (June 12) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.