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The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Friday, May 02, 2014


May 2, 2014

A Biography by Adam Begley
Harper 2014

I am a long time fan of John Updike, novelist, critic, poet and contributor to The New Yorker. Couples and the four novels about Rabbit are favorites of mine. I am reading the collected short stories put out by the Library of America in two volumes. Born in 1932 a year after I was, his fiction depicts the same life span as mine. The issues of love, marriage, adultery, divorce, children, politics and history are what our generation lived and live through.
His ability to show the pain and sorrow and the love and joy of living bring those emotions to our lives.

Adam Begley’s biography brings Updike alive and human to our immediate attention. Updike's great talent as a writer is presented in a way that makes us want to read the novelist. Begley takes many of the stories and events in the novels and relates them to Updike’s personal life. Many stories and poems reflect the joys of married life and the sad fate of Updike’s own marriage adultery and divorce. Begley does this with consistently and accuracy throughout the 558 pages of his book. I sometimes did get lost between the characters in the book and novelist’s real life. On the whole Begley keeps us interested in the stories and the real life. Updike said very clearly that most of his fiction was based on his own life and that of his two wives and families. Many of the characters in his books are also fictitious versions of his friends and colleagues as well as his and their children.

This biography is a wonderful way to get to know Updike the wonderful flawed human being, just like the rest of us, only he got really famous rich and successful. The book is also a wonderful introduction and advanced way to enjoy the work of John Updike.



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