Saturday, August 22, 2015
Adam Begley's Brilliant "Updike"
This summer I’m reading Adam Begley’s Updike. I find it addictive. Begley’s biographical readings of Updike’s work are fascinating. For example, in his early chapters, he shows how immersed Updike was in his beloved Pennsylvania geography (Plowville, Shillington, Reading). He says of Updike’s great “The Happiest I’ve Been” (The New Yorker, January 3, 1959), “The farm, the town, the city – when an adult John Nordholm looks fondly back on the events of that night, Updike is taking us on a pilgrimage to all three of his holy sites.” Updike, in his “On Literary Biography” (Due Considerations, 2007), described George D. Painter’s masterly Marcel Proust as “a way of re-experiencing the novel [Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past], with a closeness, and a delight in seeing imagined details conjured back into real ones, that only this particular writer and his vast autobiographical masterpiece could provide.” Begley’s Updike works the same way in relation to Updike’s writing - mirroring the fiction back into reality. I’m enjoying it immensely.