Books by John Updike

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Couples: A Novel
by John Updike
“Trapped in their cozy catacombs, the couples have made sex by turns their toy, their glue, their trauma, their therapy, their hope, their frustration, their revenge, their narcotic, their main line of communication and their sole and pitiable shield against the awareness of death.”—TimeOne of the signature novels of the American...
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Rabbit, Run
by John Updike
Rabbit, Run is the book that established John Updike as one of the major American novelists of his—or any other—generation. Its hero is Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a onetime high-school basketball star who on an impulse deserts his wife and son. He is twenty-six years old, a man-child caught in a struggle between instinct and...
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Telephone Poles and Other Poems
by John Updike
WHEN, five years and five books of fiction ago, THE CARPENTERED HEN, John Updike’s first collection of verse, was published, Phyllis McGinley wrote: “I have been happily reading Mr. Updike in The New Yorker for some time and am happy, now, to own him collected.  When he first appeared in that magazine, I was so elated to see a new...
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Rabbit Is Rich
by John Updike
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award  The hero of John Updike’s Rabbit, Run, ten years after the events of Rabbit Redux, has come to enjoy considerable prosperity as the chief sales representative of Springer Motors, a Toyota agency in Brewer, Pennsylvania. The time is 1979:...
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Rabbit Redux
by John Updike
In this sequel to Rabbit, Run, John Updike resumes the spiritual quest of his anxious Everyman, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom. Ten years have passed; the impulsive former athlete has become a paunchy thirty-six-year-old conservative, and Eisenhower’s becalmed America has become 1969’s lurid turmoil of technology, fantasy, drugs, and...
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Bech: A Book: A Novel
by John Updike
The Jewish American novelist Henry Bech—procrastinating, libidinous, and tart-tongued, his reputation growing while his powers decline—made his first appearance in 1965, in John Updike’s “The Bulgarian Poetess.” That story won the O. Henry First Prize, and it and the six Bech adventures that followed make up this collection ....
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The Witches of Eastwick: A Novel
by John Updike
Toward the end of the Vietnam era, in a snug little Rhode Island seacoast town, wonderful powers have descended upon Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie, bewitching divorcées with sudden access to all that is female, fecund, and mysterious. Alexandra, a sculptor, summons thunderstorms; Jane, a cellist, floats on the air; and Sukie, the local...
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Brazil: A Novel
by John Updike
In the dream-Brazil of John Updike’s imagining, almost anything is possible if you are young and in love. When Tristão Raposo, a black nineteen-year-old from the Rio slums, and Isabel Leme, an eighteen-year-old upper-class white girl, meet on Copacabana Beach, their flight from family and into marriage takes them to the farthest...
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The Early Stories: 1953-1975
by John Updike
Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction  A harvest and not a winnowing, this volume collects 103 stories, almost all of the short fiction that John Updike wrote between 1953 and 1975. “How rarely it can be said of any of our great American writers that they have been equally gifted in both long and short forms,” reads the...
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Rabbit at Rest
by John Updike
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Howells Medal, and the National Book Critics Circle Award  In John Updike’s fourth and final novel about Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, the hero has acquired a Florida condo, a second grandchild, and a troubled, overworked heart. His son, Nelson, is behaving erratically; his daughter-in-law, Pru, is...
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Too Far to Go: The Maples Stories
by John Updike
“The Maples stories trace the decline and fall of a marriage,” writes the author in his Foreword, a marriage that is threatened early on by the temptations of infidelity (“Snowing in Greenwich Village”) and that ends in a midlife divorce (“Here Come the Maples”). “They also illumine a history in many ways happy, of growing...
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Roger's Version: A Novel
by John Updike
As Roger Lambert tells it, he, a middle-aged professor of divinity, is buttonholed in his office by Dale Kohler, an earnest young computer scientist who believes that quantifiable evidence of God’s existence is irresistibly accumulating. The theological-scientific debate that ensues, and the wicked strategies that Roger employs to...
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The Poorhouse Fair: A Novel
by John Updike
“Brilliant . . . Here is the conflict of real ideas; of real personalities; here is a work of intellectual imagination and great charity.  The Poorhouse Fair  is a work of art.”— The New York Times Book Review The hero of John Updike’s first novel, published when the author was twenty-six, is ninety-four-year-old John Hook...
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The Centaur: A Novel
by John Updike
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD AND THE PRIX DU MEILLEUR LIVRE ÉTRANGER The Centaur is a modern retelling of the legend of Chiron, the noblest and wisest of the centaurs, who, painfully wounded yet unable to die, gave up his immortality on behalf of Prometheus. In the retelling, Olympus becomes small-town Olinger High School; Chiron...
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The Coup: A Novel
by John Updike
The Coup describes violent events in the imaginary African nation of Kush, a large, landlocked, drought-ridden, sub-Saharan country led by Colonel Hakim Félix Ellelloû. (“A leader,” writes Colonel Ellelloû, “is one who, out of madness or goodness, takes upon himself the woe of a people. There are few men so foolish.”)...
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The Maples Stories (Everyman's Library Pocket Classics Series)
by John Updike
Collected together for the first time in hardcover, these eighteen classic stories from across John Updike’s career form a luminous chronicle of the life and times of one marriage in all its rich emotional complexity. In 1956, Updike published a story, “Snowing in Greenwich Village,” about a young couple, Joan and Richard...
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Toward the End of Time: A Novel
by John Updike
Set in the near future of 2020, this disconcerting philosophical fantasy depicts an America devastated by a war with China that has left its populace decimated, its government a shambles, and its natural resources tainted. The hero is Ben Turnbull, a sixty-six-year-old retired investment counselor, who, like Thoreau, sticks close to...
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S.: A Novel
by John Updike
S. is the story of Sarah P. Worth, a thoroughly modern spiritual seeker who has become enamored of a Hindu mystic called the Arhat. A native New Englander, she goes west to join his ashram in Arizona, and there struggles alongside fellow sannyasins (pilgrims) in the difficult attempt to subdue ego and achieve moksha (salvation...
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My Father's Tears: And Other Stories
by John Updike
“Drinking a toast to the visible world, his impending disappearance from it be damned.” That’s how John Updike describes one of his elderly protagonists in this, his final collection of short stories. He might have been writing about himself. In My Father’s Tears, the author revisits his signature characters, places, and...
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Licks of Love: Short Stories and a Sequel, "Rabbit Remembered"
by John Updike
In this brilliant late-career collection, John Updike revisits many of the locales of his early fiction: the small-town Pennsylvania of Olinger Stories, the sandstone farmhouse of Of the Farm, the exurban New England of Couples and Marry Me, and Henry Bech’s Manhattan of artistic ambition and taunting glamour. To a dozen short stories...
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Pigeon Feathers: And Other Stories
by John Updike
When this classic collection of stories first appeared—in 1962, on the author’s thirtieth birthday—Arthur Mizener wrote in The New York Times Book Review: “Updike is a romantic [and] like all American romantics, that is, he has an irresistible impulse to go in memory home again in order to find himself. . . . The precise...
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In the Beauty of the Lilies: A Novel
by John Updike
In the Beauty of the Lilies begins in 1910 and traces God’s relation to four generations of American seekers, beginning with Clarence Wilmot, a clergyman in Paterson, New Jersey. He loses his faith but finds solace at the movies, respite from “the bleak facts of life, his life, gutted by God’s withdrawal.” His son, Teddy, becomes...
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Golf Dreams: Writings on Golf
by John Updike
John Updike wrote about the lure of golf for five decades, from the first time he teed off at the age of twenty-five until his final rounds at the age of seventy-six. Golf Dreams collects the most memorable of his golf pieces, high-spirited evidence of his learning, playing, and living for the game. The camaraderie of golf, the perils...
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Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism
by John Updike
“A drop of truth, of lived experienced, glistens in each.” This is how John Updike modestly described his nonfiction pieces, of which Due Considerations is perhaps his most varied, stylish, and personal collection. Here Updike reflects on such writers as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry James, Don DeLillo, A. S. Byatt, Colson Whitehead...
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Terrorist: A Novel
by John Updike
The terrorist of John Updike’s title is eighteen-year-old Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy, the son of an Irish American mother and an Egyptian father who disappeared when he was three. Devoted to Allah and to the Qur’an as expounded by the imam of his neighborhood mosque, Ahmad feels his faith threatened by the materialistic, hedonistic society...
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The Widows of Eastwick: A Novel
by John Updike
More than three decades after the events described in The Witches of Eastwick, Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie—widowed, aging, and with their occult powers fading—return for the summer to the Rhode Island town where they once made piquant scandal and sometimes deadly mischief. But what was then a center of license and liberation is now a...
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Categories: All Contemporary Fiction & Literature; All Horror; All Humor
Gertrude and Claudius: A Novel
by John Updike
Gertrude and Claudius are the “villains” of Hamlet: he the killer of Hamlet’s father and usurper of the Danish throne, she his lusty consort, who marries Claudius before her late husband’s body is cold. But in this imaginative “prequel” to the play, John Updike makes a case for the royal couple that Shakespeare only hinted...
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Trust Me: Short Stories
by John Updike
The theme of trust, betrayed or fulfilled, runs through this collection of short stories: Parents lead children into peril, husbands abandon wives, wives manipulate husbands, and time undermines all. Love pangs, a favorite subject of the author, take on a new urgency as earthquakes, illnesses, lost wallets, and deaths of distant friends...
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Villages: A Novel
by John Updike
In this wry novel of sentimental education and sexual pursuit, we follow Owen Mackenzie, a representative man of the author’s generation, from cradle to grave, and from bed to bed. His life and relationships are shaped by three villages, warm-lit communities that keep the darkness at bay from within and without. In Willow...
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Self-Consciousness: Memoirs
by John Updike
John Updike’s memoirs consist of six Emersonian essays that together trace the inner shape of the life, up to the age of fifty-five, of a relatively fortunate American male. The author has attempted, his Foreword states, “to treat this life, this massive datum which happens to be mine, as a specimen life, representative in its odd...
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Marry Me: A Romance
by John Updike
Marry Me is subtitled “A Romance” because, in the author’s words, “people don’t act like that anymore.” The time is 1962, and the place is a fiefdom of Camelot called Greenwood, Connecticut. Jerry Conant and Sally Mathias are in love and want to get married, though they already are married to others. A diadem of five...
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Of the Farm: A Novel
by John Updike
“A small masterpiece . . . With Of the Farm, John Updike has achieved a sureness of touch, a suppleness of style, and a subtlety of vision that is gained by few writers of fi ction.”—The New York TimesIn this short novel, Joey Robinson, a thirty-five-year-old New Yorker, describes a visit he makes, with his second wife and...
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A Month of Sundays: A Novel
by John Updike
In this antic riff on Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter , the Reverend Tom Marshfield, a latter-day Arthur Dimmesdale, is sent west from his Midwestern parish in sexual disgrace. At a desert retreat dedicated to rest, recreation, and spiritual renewal, this fortyish serial fornicator is required to keep a journal whose thirty-one weekly...
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Bech at Bay (Quasi-Novels)
by John Updike
In this, the final volume in John Updike’s mock-heroic trilogy about the Jewish American writer Henry Bech, our hero is older but scarcely wiser. Now in his seventies, he remains competitive, lecherous, and self-absorbed, lost in a brave new literary world where his books are hyped by Swiss-owned conglomerates, showcased in chain...
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Problems: And Other Stories
by John Updike
In this midcareer collection of twenty-three short stories, John Updike tackles such problems as separation, divorce, and remarriage, parents and children, guns and prostitution, leprosy, swooning, suffocation, and guilt. His self-seeking heroes tend to be forty; his heroines are asleep, seductive, longing, or reproachful. None of these...
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Memories of the Ford Administration: A Novel
by John Updike
When historian Alfred “Alf” Clayton is invited by an academic journal to record his impressions of the Gerald R. Ford Administration (1974–77), he recalls not the political events of the time but rather a turbulent period of his own sexual past. Alf’s highly idiosyncratic contribution to Retrospect consists not only of reams of...
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Endpoint and Other Poems
by John Updike
A stunning collection of poems that John Updike wrote during the last seven years of his life and put together only weeks before he died for this, his final book. The opening sequence, “Endpoint,” is made up of a series of connected poems written on the occasions of his recent birthdays and culminates in his confrontation with his...
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Odd Jobs: Essays and Criticism
by John Updike
To complement his work as a fiction writer, John Updike accepted any number of odd jobs—book reviews and introductions, speeches and tributes, a “few paragraphs” on baseball or beauty or Borges—and saw each as “an opportunity to learn something, or to extract from within some unsuspected wisdom.” In this, his largest...
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Bech Is Back
by John Updike
In this follow-up to Bech: A Book, Henry Bech, the priapic, peripatetic, and unproductive Jewish American novelist, returns with seven more chapters from his mock-heroic life. He turns fifty in a confusing blend of civic and erotic circumstances while publicizing himself in Australia and Canada. He marries a shiksa and travels with...
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Seek My Face: A Novel
by John Updike
John Updike’s twentieth novel, like his first, The Poorhouse Fair, takes place in one day, a day that contains much conversation and some rain. The seventy-nine-year-old painter Hope Chafetz, who in the course of her eventful life has been Hope Ouderkirk, Hope McCoy, and Hope Holloway, answers questions put to her by a New York...
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Higher Gossip: Essays and Criticism
by John Updike
Here is the collection of nonfiction pieces that John Updike was compiling when he died in January 2009. It opens with a self-portrait of the writer in winter, a Prospero who, though he fears his most dazzling performances are behind him, reveals himself in every sentence to be in deep conversation with the sources of his magic. It...
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The Afterlife: And Other Stories
by John Updike
To the hero of the title story of this collection, all of England has the glow of an afterlife: “A miraculous lacquer lay upon everything, beading each roadside twig . . . each reed of thatch, each tiny daisy trembling in the grass.” All of these stories, each in its own way, partake of this glow, as life beyond middle age is...
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Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism
by John Updike
WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD   “Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing in the open sea,” writes John Updike in his Foreword to this collection of literary considerations. But the sailor doth protest too much: This collection begins somewhere near deep water...
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Collected Poems, 1953-1993
by John Updike
“The idea of verse, of poetry, has always, during forty years spent working primarily in prose, stood at my elbow, as a standing invitation to the highest kind of verbal exercise—the most satisfying, the most archaic, the most elusive of critical control.  In hotel rooms and airplanes, on beaches and Sundays, at junctures of...
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More Matter: Essays and Criticism
by John Updike
In this collection of nonfiction pieces, John Updike gathers his responses to nearly two hundred invitations into print, each “an opportunity to make something beautiful, to find within oneself a treasure that would otherwise remain buried.” Introductions, reviews, and humorous essays, paragraphs on New York, religion, and...
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Always Looking: Essays on Art
by John Updike
In this posthumous collection of John Updike’s art writings, a companion volume to the acclaimed Just Looking (1989) and Still Looking (2005), readers are again treated to “remarkably elegant essays” ( Newsday ) in which “the psychological concerns of the novelist drive the eye from work to work until a deep understanding of...
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Assorted Prose
by John Updike
John Updike’s first collection of nonfiction pieces, published in 1965 when the author was thirty-three, is a diverting and illuminating gambol through midcentury America and the writer’s youth. It opens with a choice selection of parodies, casuals, and “Talk of the Town” reports, the fruits of Updike’s boyish ambition to...
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Picked-Up Pieces: Essays
by John Updike
In John Updike’s second collection of assorted prose he comes into his own as a book reviewer; most of the pieces picked up here were first published in The New Yorker in the 1960s and early ’70s. If one word could sum up the young critic’s approach to books and their authors it would be “generosity”: “Better to praise and...
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Buchanan Dying: A Play
by John Updike
To the list of John Updike’s well-intentioned protagonists—Rabbit Angstrom, George Caldwell, Piet Hanema, Henry Bech—add James Buchanan, seen above as a young Congressman in the 1820’s, and on the front cover as the harried fifteenth President of the United States (1857-1861).  In a play meant to be read, Buchanan’s political...
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Midpoint and Other Poems
by John Updike
In the boldly eclectic title poem of his collection, John Updike employs the meters of Dante, Spenser, Pope, Whitman, and Pound, as well as the pictographic tactics of concrete poetry, to take an inventory of his life at the end of his thirty-fifth year—at midpoint.  These cantos form both a joke on the antique genre of the long poem...
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Americana: and Other Poems
by John Updike
John Updike's first collection of verse since his Collected Poems, 1953-1993 brings together fifty-eight poems, three of them of considerable length. The four sections take up, in order: America, its cities and airplanes; the poet's life, his childhood, birthdays, and ailments; foreign travel, to Europe and the tropics; and, beginning...
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The Carpentered Hen
by John Updike
As a present to John Updike on his fiftieth birthday, and as a treat for his readers, his first book, a collection of light verse originally published twenty-five years ago, is brought back into print, with an author’s foreword and some small revisions.                 Many of these poems were written when the author was...
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Tossing and Turning
by John Updike
John Updike’s first collection of verse since Midpoint takes its title from a poem about insomnia.  Throughout, this is poetry with its eyes wide open, restlessly alert for the oddities of reality and the double entendres of imagination.  Fanciers of light verse will find a middle section of delicate fossil prints left by this...
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Facing Nature
by John Updike
John Updike’s fifth collection of poetry faces nature on a number of levels.  An opening section of sonnets touches upon death, aging, and, in a sequence of describing a week in Spain, insomnia and dread.  The poems that follow consider nature in the form of seasons, of planting trees and being buried, of shadow and rain, of pain and...
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Categories: All Nonfiction
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