Thursday, February 26, 2009

Updike - not my favorite

So I mentioned a while back that I was going to rectify the gap in my experience of more modern American fiction by reading some John Updike. While on vacation I began reading the shorter of the two novels I had picked out, The Witches of Eastwick. In short, I never made it to number two - In the Beauty of the Lilies - I could barely stomach what I was reading. Several hours of my life I won't get back reading a novel in which none of the characters were interesting, much less sympathetic. Definitely not to my tastes in literature at all - sexually insecure witches? - give me a break; at least now I know.

The lesson in all of this? The local library had more than one collection of Updike's short stories . . . always, always start with an author's short stories if you have the choice!

5 comments:

Tom Jackson said...

I'd suggest Ken Kesey's second novel, "Sometime A Great Notion," except that it's also rather long and requires several readings before you'll have a good handle on what's going on. It seems to have been an experiment in multiple simultaneous streams of consciousness, and it often changes POVs from one character to another without warning. (It comes from Kesey's post-"Cuckoo's Nest" period, when he had plenty of money for psychoactive chemicals; this may have had something to do with the style.) But I liked it, and whenever I read it I pick up details that I hadn't noticed before.

Tom Jackson said...

(That's "Sometimes" in the title. I hate typos.)

larry said...

I have chosen to read another modern American novel. I have never read any Kurt Vonnegut, and currently have Slaughterhouse Five checked out - not really heeding my own lesson about short stories. However, this time, if I think its crap like I did with Updike, I just won't finish it. . .

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