Memories of the Ford Administration by John; John Updike (Author) Updike

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Synopsis

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contribution to Retrospect consists not only of reams of unbuttoned personal history but also of pages from an unpublished project of the time, a chronicle of the presidency of James Buchanan (1857–61). The alternating texts mirror each other and tell a story in counterpoint, a frequently hilarious comedy of manners contrasting the erotic etiquette and social dictions of antebellum Washington with those of late-twentieth-century southern New Hampshire. Alf’s style is Nabokovian. His obsessions are vintage Updike.
 

About John; John Updike (Author) Updike

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John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. 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, " and since 1957 has lived in Massachusetts. He is the author of fifty-odd previous books, including twenty novels and numerous collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His fiction has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal.
 
Published September 18, 2012 by Random House. 416 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Memories of the Ford Administration

Kirkus Reviews

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His dreadful play of some years back, Buchanan Dying, must have left Updike with a raft of research material that he seems now to have taken and thrust into the fictional hands of a New Hampshire girls'-college historian, Alf Clayton, who's writing a sympathetic book about Buchanan, the president...

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The New York Times

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IN a Presidential election year that will be remembered for the way we have blurred the line between the personal and public lives of our candidates, hunted for hidden scandals and unleashed in Pandora-like fashion a moral debate on "family values," John Updike's 15th novel, "Memories of the Ford...

Nov 01 1992 | Read Full Review of Memories of the Ford Administ...

Publishers Weekly

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Obstensibly preparing a paper on the Ford administration, Updike's narrator Alfred Clayton, a professor at a New Hampshire junior college, finds his impressions of the period inextricable from the events of his own life at the time.

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Publishers Weekly

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Realizing that his recollections of his own experiences in the 1970s are as unreliable as were contemporary accounts of Buchanan's life and times, Alf concludes that it is impossible to arrive at the truth of any event.

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The Independent

The last sentence of the novel reveals the structural jest at its heart: 'The more I think about the Ford Administration, the more it seems I remember nothing.' The narrator, Alfred Clayton, a minor league historian, is supposedly responding to a request for 'Memories and Impressions of the Presi...

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People

Asked the history journal Retrospect to look back on the Ford presidency, Wayward Junior College history prof Alf Clayton instead tumbles into his personal past.

Nov 30 1992 | Read Full Review of Memories of the Ford Administ...

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