Is John Updike worth getting into?

Is John Updike worth getting into?

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  1. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    The Rabbit Novels, and his short stories are quite good. Both among the best writing of the 20th century. I found Beauty of the Lilies to be meandering and uninspired, and The Centaur to be overwraught. But opinions vary.

  2. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    John Cheever's works aged better.

  3. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Bloom put it best - minor novelist but major stylist or something like that. There is an extended passage in Rabbit, Run (after Rabbit returns to his wife determined to live a better life) that is among the most incredibly well-written and essentially perfect things I have ever read, but the themes, takeaway, and pathos of most of his work is largely inconsequential.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      What discernible talent there is is entombed in sufficient shit so as to make it not worth bothering. A more mid male Virginia Woolf-- this

      Updike isn't bad, though his contemporaries, such as Philip Roth and Raymond Carver, absolutely mog him

      https://i.imgur.com/33qJcYt.jpg

      Is this sentence good writing or bad writing?

      It's the choices he fails to make while committed to that bit that damns him. This is very thoroughly not remotely near anything approaching Ameri-Proust.

      https://i.imgur.com/TMfG9O5.jpg

      >Who would you say is peers with Updike, and if there are any in your opinion, who among his contemporaries would you say is a markedly better writer than him?
      The problem with Updike is not his peers but his progeny. He excelled producing beautiful, synthesia-like sentences, and after Updike a whole slew of writers appeared whose main goal seemed to be producing no less archly carven sentences--DeLillo, Gass, Proulx, etc. A prose style that draws attention to itself does not necessarily a good novel make, however. Like Ruskin, he's a joy to read, but not because of what he's writing about.

      Style is the phrenology of thought, and Updike and his misbegotten progeny are still only acting as their homunculi's stenographers.

      https://i.imgur.com/EJeMndt.jpg

      That's the thing about Updike: he isn't reducible to a stylist, but there's a gravity-like pull to his style, kind of like Hemingway. The surface is so shiny it distracts from the depths. Which is too bad. I would argue that the _substance_ of Updike is his cartography of white America in the age of suburbia, combined with the dilution of Christianity from its one-time intense Protestantism to pale Unitarian theobabble. Important material, but he doesn't want to hit the mark hard, just beautifully.

      Updike isn't even shallow. No one asked for seven Babbits played straight.

  4. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    What's Updike?

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Bugs, easy on the carrots.

  5. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Updike isn't bad, though his contemporaries, such as Philip Roth and Raymond Carver, absolutely mog him

    • 2 months ago
      Sage

      Updike > Cheever > Roth > Carver > Wolfe >>>>> Bellow > Mailer

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Didn't mean to season the Name field 🙁

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Where would you place Vidal?

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          Never read and don't intend to.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Is it because he sodomized Jack Kenouac?

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Kerouac*

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          Myra Breckinridge is first rate. Only one missing out is you.

          • 2 months ago
            Anonymous

            Myra was where I gave up on Vidal; until then he was pretty good but I couldn't stand that one.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          A first-rate essayist, and an underrated novelist. Myra, Lincoln, Julian, are very much worth reading. He doesn't quite have the individuality of Bellow or Updike, though. Read a page of either and you know the writer. Not so Vidal.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          Inside of Jack Kerouac

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        wolfe > all
        that being tom, not thom

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          I love Tom Wolfe, but his genius was as a writer of non-fiction. He was a good and fun novelist, and the backlash from his 'three stooges' was over-the-top and silly, but he is at his best when he's not writing fiction.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        I'm yet to read cheever, carver and bellow but agree with that ranking otherwise

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Big oof @ Carver - Cathedral is great but he's a low-rent author who was made far better by his editor. He doesn't operate anywhere near Updike's level on a stylistic standpoint. Roth has a better claim to being a peer or better, but I just find his way of brining his politics into everything he does so tiring.

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        That's a fair indictment (re: Carver's dependence on his editor). I think I'm more sour than the average person on Updike.

        Who would you say is peers with Updike, and if there are any in your opinion, who among his contemporaries would you say is a markedly better writer than him?

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          As a stylist I don't know that anyone of the last 60-70 years was operating on Updike's level. Maybe Nabokov. Maybe also Kesey in "Sometimes a Great Notion" but that was a single book and one that I recognized I probably overrate due to my own love of the Pacific Northwest. Cheever, mentioned by the other anon is up there. I'd also rate both Evan Connell and Richard Yates on the same level (lower stylistically, but higher in general meaning/consequence of their books), both of whom cover some similar milieus.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          >Who would you say is peers with Updike, and if there are any in your opinion, who among his contemporaries would you say is a markedly better writer than him?
          The problem with Updike is not his peers but his progeny. He excelled producing beautiful, synthesia-like sentences, and after Updike a whole slew of writers appeared whose main goal seemed to be producing no less archly carven sentences--DeLillo, Gass, Proulx, etc. A prose style that draws attention to itself does not necessarily a good novel make, however. Like Ruskin, he's a joy to read, but not because of what he's writing about.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            It's easy to reduce him to a stylist, but I thought Rabbit Run and Rabbit is Rich were fairly strong plot/themewise

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            That's the thing about Updike: he isn't reducible to a stylist, but there's a gravity-like pull to his style, kind of like Hemingway. The surface is so shiny it distracts from the depths. Which is too bad. I would argue that the _substance_ of Updike is his cartography of white America in the age of suburbia, combined with the dilution of Christianity from its one-time intense Protestantism to pale Unitarian theobabble. Important material, but he doesn't want to hit the mark hard, just beautifully.

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            need a bad b***h in moon boots

  6. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Is this sentence good writing or bad writing?

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      > Cherry-picking a long unconventional sentence, ripping it out of hundreds, thousands of words' worth of context, pointing at it and going "LOL guys isn't this so weird"

      Don't you all ever get tired of it?

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        I'm honestly asking. That was the point where I dropped The Centaur. I reread that section five times trying to untangle what he was saying. I get the general gist of the circumstances involved in what is being described, but it feels like he's outlining events with grammar-like (but entierly ungrammatical) curves. If there is a sentence structure, even an ungrammatical one, I decided I wasn't smart enough to find it, I'm wondering if it is, and if anons think this is a good writing style.

        • 2 months ago
          Anonymous

          I find it perfectly clear but I facetank greek poetry and baroque prose all the time so it isn't much of a bear.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      I had no idea about the Greek mythology surrounding Philyra and Chiron prior to reading The Centaur but like the other anon said, I find it pretty clear that she had been assaulted/raped, then bore as a result of that assault, then was punished by being turned into a tree, and how that affected Chiron's attitude towards parental relationships and love, etc etc. It's a little weird to me that you got this far into The Centaur only to drop it there, because its lapses into the weird/mythic/fantasy happen everywhere.

      Not to say that I even like The Centaur that much; it's mediocre for other reasons but I wouldn't say that the writing style is it's greatest flaw.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      I know exactly what you’re talking about, in these specific passages of The Centaur (the mythological ones), his writing style really gets way too verbose and purple. But I can more than forgive his misses for all the times he hits the bullseye. Such passages are also far more easily understandable if you know of the basics of the myths of Chiron and Philyra and Apollo etc. it’s all referring to.

      I still hold it’s almost just worth reading Updike at least for the style alone, he’s a master of it. The Centaur is one of his more uneven works in this respect but if you persevered, you’d find how gorgeously he can write when he pulls it off well instead of just relapsing into purpleness and the rococo.

      https://i.imgur.com/EJeMndt.jpg

      That's the thing about Updike: he isn't reducible to a stylist, but there's a gravity-like pull to his style, kind of like Hemingway. The surface is so shiny it distracts from the depths. Which is too bad. I would argue that the _substance_ of Updike is his cartography of white America in the age of suburbia, combined with the dilution of Christianity from its one-time intense Protestantism to pale Unitarian theobabble. Important material, but he doesn't want to hit the mark hard, just beautifully.

      Well put.

  7. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >white man writes books about his penis
    yawn

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >white man writes books with his penis
      ftfy

  8. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Frick that cover is amazing. If it's still in print I'll read it just for the cover.

  9. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    He's a good writer and I especially like when he writes about big tall chubby slightly-slow women and the things his characters do to them in the ass.

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