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My Father's Tears and Other Storiesby John Updike
Synopses & Reviews
John Updike’s first collection of new short fiction since the year 2000, My Father’s Tears finds the author in a valedictory mood as he mingles narratives of his native Pennsylvania with stories of New England suburbia and of foreign travel.
“Personal Archaeology” considers life as a sequence of half-buried layers, and “The Full Glass” distills a lifetime’s happiness into one brimming moment of an old man’s bedtime routine. High-school class reunions, in “The Walk with Elizanne” and “The Road Home,” restore their hero to youth’s commonwealth where, as the narrator of the title story confides, “the self I value is stored, however infrequently I check on its condition.” Exotic locales encountered in the journeys of adulthood include Morocco, Florida, Spain, Italy, and India. The territory of childhood, with its fundamental, formative mysteries, is explored in “The Guardians,” “The Laughter of the Gods,” and “Kinderszenen.” Love’s fumblings among the bourgeoisie yield the tart comedy of “Free,” “Delicate Wives,” “The Apparition,” and “Outage.”
In sum, American experience from the Depression to the aftermath of 9/11 finds reflection in these glittering pieces of observation, remembrance, and imagination.
John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. 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 and since 1957 has lived in Massachusetts. He is the father of four children and the
A collection of short fiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author includes tales set in his native Pennsylvania, the New England suburbs, and foreign countries, all depicting different facets of the American experience from the Depression through the aftermath of 9/11.
Drinking a toast to the visible world, his impending disappearance from it be damned. That's how John Updike describes an elderly character in his remarkable final collection. Hemight have been talking about himself. In My Father's Tears, Updike revisits his people, places, and themes--Americans in suburbs, cities, and small towns grappling with faith and infidelity--invivid portraits of the aged, people for whom the past has become paramount. My Father's Tears is a superb set of tales that is a vital and unforgettable farewell.
Table of Contents
Morocco — Personal archaeology — Free — Walk with Elizanne — The guardians — The laughter of the gods — Varieties of religious experience — Spanish prelude to a second marriage — Delicate wives — The accelerating expansion of the universe — German lessons — The road home — My father's tears — Kinderszenen — The apparition — Blue light — Outage — The full glass.
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