Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Updike in the New Yorker

The new fiction by John Updike in this week's New Yorker is a good antidote for the usual complaint about stories without much of a plot or an ending (although such works do shine if done well). The story's called "My Father's Tears." Reading it last night, I was impressed at how it begins small and then spools out back and forth across years in a man's life without feeling like it's weighed down by those years. I could really imagine the author, 74 next month, telling the tale. I'm fond of his frequent references to Pennsylvania, even if the places that Updike often writes about are in a part of the state (geographically and symbolically) different from the one I know best. It got me thinking about "where the self I value is stored," as the narrator puts it during a passage about high-school class reunions.

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