27 January 2009

RIP John Updike (1932-2009)

It's kind of bizarre that John Updike wont be producing new fiction anymore.  I always loved his writing in that it was gritty, unafraid. The Rabbit series is read in most middle schools here in the states and his other works in the New Yorker (short stories, essays) et. al. on a consistent basis. I remember reading Rabbit, Run in 5th grade with Mrs. Tianello and being blown away by the frank portrayal of an unhappy couple: he was a faded high school basketball star (sad, sad bar scenes) and she was slightly "higher-class" with a drinking problem. He wrote with a chilling, subtle realism while at the same time getting to the heart of the important universal themes (sex, sexism, the plight of the common man) in a frank, sometimes brash manner. He was a Pulitzer Prize-winner, and is an inspiration (though I never warmed to the portrayal of  the wife in Rabbit, Run.)

Here's an interview he did about the Rabbit series in '95, in two parts, and an obit. from the Washington Post.