Synopses & Reviews
JOHN UPDIKE IS "A STYLIST OF THE HIGHEST ORDER, capable of illuminating the sublime in the mundane, thereby elevating all of human experience." --Chicago Tribune
Toward the End of Time "is the journal of a 66-year-old man, Ben Turnbull . . . [which] reveals not only the world but the wanderings of his wits. . . . So what if he jumps from a United States in the next century, disintegrating after a war with China, to ancient Egypt, or to virtual reality? So what if characters appear and disappear like phantoms in a dream? . . . Turnbull's journal is like Walden gone haywire. . . . If Ben's ruthlessness is evenhanded, so is his alarming intelligence; it falls on every scene, person, object, and thought in the book, giving it an eerie ambiance."
--The New York Times Book Review
"A BOOK AIMED NOT TO RESOLVE BUT TO AROUSE A READER'S WONDER . . . Vintage Updike: marital angst worked out against the chilly backdrop of privilege, rendered with a lyricism and insight and eye for detail reminiscent of the work of Jane Austen."
--The Miami Herald
"WONDERFUL RUSHES OF NEAR-MELVILLEAN PROSE . . . Toward the End of Time has a force that gets under your skin."
--New York Review of Books
A Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club
Ben Turnbull, the hero of John Updike's eighteenth novel, is a sixty-six-year-old retired investment counselor living north of Boston in the year 2020. A recent war between the United States and China has thinned the population and brought social chaos. The dollar has been locally replaced by Massachusetts scrip; instead of taxes, one pays protection money to competing racketeers. Nevertheless, Ben's life, traced by his journal entries over the course of a year, retains many of its accustomed comforts, as supervised by his vibrant wife, Gloria. He plays golf; he pays visits to his five children and ten grandchildren. Something of a science buff, he finds his personal history caught up in the disjunctions and vagaries of the "many-worlds" hypothesis derived from the indeterminacy of quantum theory. His identity branches into variants extending back through history and ahead in the evolution of the universe, as both it and his own mortal, nature-enshrouded existence move toward the end of time.
About the Author
John Updike was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania, in 1932. 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. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal. In 2007 he received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. John Updike died in January 2009.