Thursday, January 29, 2009
Some good interviews here.
I haven't stayed current with Updike, but the early Rabbit novels set the bar very high and were a powerful influence. Lyrical, sexy as hell, real people trapped in a very dramatic, vividly depicted middle-class world that resonated deeply. I saw my parents in his novels. The struggle between conformity and rebelliousness in their generation--the greatest generation. My baby boom generation had it easy by comparison. We rebelled early, then caved, turned materialistic and didn't look back. But my parents like Rabbit fought this battle all their lives. Doing the right thing, the safe thing, the responsible thing vs. Being free, daring and bold. Eisenhower vs. Kennedy. Gray flannel vs. buckskin. Staying home vs. setting forth. That was at the heart of Updike's work and it's a thematic tension that still ripples through the best writing of today.
Updike was a funny, poetic, incredibly smart man. Another one gone.