Thursday, January 27, 2011

Remembering... John Updike


One of the most prolific and sensitive chroniclers of 20th Century suburban angst died, of lung cancer, on this day in 2009 at the age of 76; through the course of his series of books (Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, Rabbit At Rest, and Rabbit Remembered) John Updike followed the rise and fall of one such suburbanite, Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom. The third and fourth of these earned him the Pulitzer Prize.

Yet for all that his repute was based on those five, Updike was very prolific author indeed, responsible for as many as a hundred books; excelling at the art of the short story, he'd contributed hundreds of them to The New Yorker since 1954, in addition to reviews and poems. Among his other famous works is The Witches of Eastwick, which was made into a film directed by George Miller in 1987, a 2000 stage musical by John Dempsey and Dana P. Rowe, and twice over a television series - first in 2002 and again in 2009*.

For all his obsession with the motivations of adultery, Updike didn't describe the mechanics it well at all; in November 2008 he was given a lifetime achievement award by the UK's Literary Review, which annually sponsors the Bad Sex in Fiction Award - the only one this author truly covets (aside from the Nobel, of course).

*The shows, both entitled Eastwick, were ill-fated; the former - starring Jason O'Mara, Marcia Cross, Kelly Rutherford, and Lori Loughlin - exists only as a pilot, and the latter - with Paul Gross, Lindsay Price, Jaime Ray Newman and Rebecca Romijn - aired 11 episodes before being cancelled (leaving 2 unaired in its initial US run).
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coffee said...

John Updike's passing is sad, but he left a ton of awesome work. "Immortality is nontransferrable" he said appropriately.

michael sean morris said...

I think that's a fine epitaph...