Random House Trade, Paperback, 9780812982961, 257pp.
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
John Updike’s memoirs consist of six Emersonian essays that together trace the inner shape of the life, up to the age of fifty-five, of a relatively fortunate American male. The author has attempted, his foreword states, “to treat this life, this massive datum which happens to be mine, as a specimen life, representative in its odd uniqueness of all the oddly unique lives in this world.” In the service of this metaphysical effort, he has been hair-raisingly honest, matchlessly precise, and self-effacingly humorous. He takes the reader beyond self-consciousness, and beyond self-importance, into sheer wonder at the miracle of existence.
“Fascinating . . . These memoirs, often unabashedly philosophical, take us inside Updike’s mind in the way that biography almost never can.”—Chicago Tribune
“Opulent . . . charming . . . [Updike’s] best writing, like Nabokov’s, is the prose of rapture.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Poignant . . . wonderfully crafted recollections . . . One completes this book wanting to convey some signal of gratitude, some affectionate reader’s embrace, to this good boy of a grown man who has striven so earnestly and masterly to describe life.”—Chicago Sun-Times