Higher Gossip by John Updike
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Once or twice in the book Updike excels himself, once or twice he falls short of his own standards, and once or twice he produces work which stands at an odd angle to his usual preoccupations.
-Guardian

Synopsis

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 concludes with a moving meditation on a world without religion, without art, and on the difficulties of faith in a disbelieving age. In between are pieces on Peanuts, Mars, and the songs of Cole Porter, a pageant of scenes from early Massachusetts, and a good deal of Updikean table talk. At the heart of the volume are dozens of book reviews from The New Yorker and illustrated art writings from The New York Review of Books. Updike’s criticism is gossip of the highest sort. We will not hear the likes of it again.
 

About John Updike

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John Updike was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania, in 1932. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954 and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal. In 2007 he received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. John Updike died in January 2009.
 
Published November 1, 2011 by Random House. 529 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Gay & Lesbian. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Higher Gossip
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Adam Mars-Jones on May 24 2012

Once or twice in the book Updike excels himself, once or twice he falls short of his own standards, and once or twice he produces work which stands at an odd angle to his usual preoccupations.

Read Full Review of Higher Gossip: Essays and Cri... | See more reviews from Guardian

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Dec 02 2011

It is his own biography that arouses interest in this volume. I don’t know if Updike has ever gone further in revealing just how much, for example, the fate of his father shaped his temperament and even his political views.

Read Full Review of Higher Gossip: Essays and Cri... | See more reviews from National Post arts

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