The Afterlife and Other Stories by John Updike

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Synopsis

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 explored and found to have its own exquisite dearness. As death approaches, existence takes on, for some of Updike’s aging characters, a translucence, a magical fragility; vivid memory and casual misperception lend the mundane an antic texture, and the backward view, lengthening, acquires a certain grandeur. Here is a world where wonder stubbornly persists, and fresh beginnings almost outnumber losses.
 

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 October 14, 2009 by Random House. 337 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Afterlife and Other Stories

Publishers Weekly

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22 short stories from Updike, many concerned with aging and attempts to sustain intimate relationships.

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Publishers Weekly

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the protagonist of ``Grandparenting'' perceives that ``nobody belongs to us, except in memory.'' Sometimes insight is healing: in two stories concerning George, a beset older man married to Vivian, a contentious woman 20 years his junior, George achieves the serenity of acceptance: ``his used old...

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Entertainment Weekly

The late-middle-aged men in the superb stories of The Afterlife and Other Stories are like deposed and exiled monarchs, brooding over the vanished empires of their youth, the fertile provinces and territories lost to time.

Dec 16 1994 | Read Full Review of The Afterlife and Other Stories

Los Angeles Times

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Fat and lonely at 60, he eats compulsively to still "the suppressed panic" inside him, "not so much the fear of death as the sensation that his life was too \o7 small.\f7 " Dread appears elsewhere in this collection--few stories express the horror of a comfortable but loveless old age better th...

Nov 14 1994 | Read Full Review of The Afterlife and Other Stories

Spirituality & Practice

Reviews Philosophy About Our Affiliates Books & Audios Recently Reviewed Most of the men in John Updike's The Afterlife and Other Stories, a collection of 22 short stories, are in their 60s.

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