• by Adam Begley
  • Narrated by Grover Gardner
  • 20 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A masterful, much-anticipated biography of one of the most celebrated figures in American literature: Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Updike - a candid, intimate, and richly detailed look at his life and work.
In this magisterial biography, Adam Begley offers an illuminating portrait of John Updike, the acclaimed novelist, poet, short-story writer, and critic who saw himself as a literary spy in small-town and suburban America, who dedicated himself to the task of transcribing "middleness with all its grits, bumps, and anonymities."
Updike explores the stages of the writer's pilgrim's progress: his beloved home turf of Berks County, Pennsylvania; his escape to Harvard; his brief, busy working life as the golden boy at the New Yorker; his family years in suburban Ipswich, Massachusetts; his extensive travel abroad; and his retreat to another Massachusetts town, Beverly Farms, where he remained until his death in 2009. Drawing from in-depth research as well as interviews with the writer's colleagues, friends, and family, Begley explores how Updike's fiction was shaped by his tumultuous personal life - including his enduring religious faith, his two marriages, and his firsthand experience of the "adulterous society" he was credited with exposing in the best-selling Couples.
With a sharp critical sensibility that lends depth and originality to his analysis, Begley probes Updike's best-loved works - from Pigeon Feathers to The Witches of Eastwick to the Rabbit tetralogy - and reveals a surprising and deeply complex character fraught with contradictions: a kind man with a vicious wit, a gregarious charmer who was ruthlessly competitive, a private person compelled to spill his secrets on the printed page. Updike offers an admiring yet balanced look at this national treasure, a master whose writing continues to resonate like no one else's.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Literary biography at its best

You don't have to be particularly interested in Updikes work to enjoy this. The writing is elegant, and thoughtful, without the usual plodding quality of many literary biographies.
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- Laurene

updike explained

as an Updike fan... it's hard to offer an unbiased opinion ....however I don't think any rational person would expect one from a fans review. i found it all so interesting. ...and much like his novels...i wanted it to go on and on...make it last...and it did. very detailed. ..very informative. ..very long. and...for that...i am most grateful. I would suggest anyone thinking of emersing yourself into the wonderful world of John Updike to use this as an owners manual of Updike....as for me....i immediately tried to read 2-3 updike novels at the same time...may long lost eagerness returned ...much like my innocence....and it was a welcomed , lost old friend. i cant imagine a greater joy then your first jobn updike novel.
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- James Murphy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-04-2014
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.