Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Updike 1932-2009

John Updike, 76, died today from lung cancer. Martin Amis provided the best tribute I know to his astounding, bewildering productivity. Here he is on Updike’s door-stopping book of literary journalism, Odd Jobs:

“Updike is a psychotic Santa of volubility, emerging from one or another of his studies (he is said to have four of them) with his morning sackful of reviews, speeches, reminiscences, think-pieces, forwards, prefaces, introductions, stories, playlets and poems. Preparing his cup of Sanka over the singing kettle, he wears his usual expression: that of a man beset by an embarrassment of delicious drolleries. The telephone starts ringing. A science magazine wants something pithy on the philosophy of subatomic thermodynamics; a fashion magazine wants 10,000 words on his favorite colour. No problem -- but can they hang on? Updike has to go upstairs again and blurt out a novel.”

Buon' anima, Maestro.

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