Monday, June 01, 2009

Julian Barnes on John Updike's final works

Julian Barnes writes about John Updike's final works in "Flights" for The New York Review of Books, 11 June 2009.

From the Essay:

Hearing of John Updike's death in January of this year, I had two immediate, ordinary reactions. The first was a protest—"But I thought we had him for another ten years"; the second, a feeling of disappointment that Stockholm had never given him the nod. The latter was a wish for him, and for American literature, the former a wish for me, for us, for Updikeans around the world.
Though it was not as if he hadn't left us enough to read. For years now his lifelong publishers at Knopf have been giving back-flap approximations. In the mid-1990s, in a cute philoprogenitive linking, he was "the father of four children and the author of more than forty books." By the time of The Early Stories (2003) they had him, in a hands-in-the-air sort of way, as "the author of fifty-odd previous books." Now, with Endpoint, they award him "more than sixty books".
My Father's Tears and Other Stories is available from Knopf and Hammish Hamilton. The Maples Stories is published by Everyman's Library.

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Jay McInerney

Julian Barnes and Jay McInerney have been friends for many years (close readers of Barnes's work may have noted that Letters from London is dedicated to McInerney). In 2001 the two authors sat down together to discuss Barnes's work. It's a lively conversation, and a recording is available online at the New York Times website.

Jay McInerney's latest collection of short stories has been published as How It Ended.