Tuesday, January 27, 2009

John Updike is Dead

John Updike has died at 76.

And I hardly know what to say, as it seems to have come completely out of nowhere. I have not heard that he's ill. (Then again, he's not the type to have said so: New England stoic, child of the Depression. And, come to think of it, he has been selling off his goods.) In fact, I've always kind of thought of him as immortal, one of those stalwart, intensely productive individuals who could always be counted on to keep cranking out a novel or so a year.

Good Lord. This has really ruined my day. He's always been my hero, even when I thought his latest books weren't his best: he was still out there regularly churning them out, and within the pages of plots that sometimes seemed reworked were glittering jewels of prose, a character description that was just right; a feeling, a mood that was not just fresh but seemed perhaps to have never been said before or in just that way.

I'm in no mood to write about this.


Charles said...

When I heard the news yesterday I thought of you. His death seems impossible -- and impossible to write about without sounding self-dramatizing, maudlin, etc. Still, the loss feels personal: he was my hero, too, a sort of sine qua non. How sad and strange to imagine the world without him in it.
-- Charlie Haverty

coffee said...

John Updike's passing is sad news indeed... he possessed a truly beautiful mind; he didn't just write well, he wrote wisely