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Odd Jobs: Essays and Criticism
Odd Jobs: Essays and Criticism
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Odd Jobs: Essays and Criticism

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Author: Updike, John

Brand: Random House Trade Paperbacks

Color: White

Edition: Reprint

Number Of Pages: 1024

Release Date: 04-12-2012

Details: Product Description To complement his work as a fiction writer, John Updike accepted any number of odd jobs—book reviews and introductions, speeches and tributes, a “few paragraphs” on baseball or beauty or Borges—and saw each as “an opportunity to learn something, or to extract from within some unsuspected wisdom.” In this, his largest collection of assorted prose, he brings generosity and insight to the works and lives of William Dean Howells, George Bernard Shaw, Philip Roth, Muriel Spark, and dozens more. Novels from outposts of postmodernism like Turkey, Albania, Israel, and Nigeria are reviewed, as are biographies of Cleopatra and Dorothy Parker. The more than a hundred considerations of books are flanked, on one side, by short stories, a playlet, and personal essays, and, on the other, by essays on his own oeuvre. Updike’s odd jobs would be any other writer’s chief work. Review “Dazzling . . . an exceptionally intelligent study of writers and their work that illuminates both the pleasures of literature in all its many guises and the alchemical transactions that go on behind its pages.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times   “[Updike’s] books of criticism must surely be the finest engagement with the contemporary novel by a living practitioner. [He is] not afraid to speak about the novel in its own language—to use metaphor not so much to explicate as to deepen the mystery of literary art.”—James Wood, Times Literary Supplement   “Updike’s talent is positively Victorian in its energy, productiveness, and scope—a prodigious talent, fueled by an enthusiasm for life and for ‘the wish to do justice to the real world’ that he finds embodied in books. . . . One of our greatest novelists is also, arguably, our greatest critic of literature.”—Phyllis Rose, The Boston Globe 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. Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. FIVE DAYS IN FINLAND AT THE AGE OF FIFTY-FIVE As I get older, my childhood self becomes more accessible to me, but selectively, in images as stylized and suspect as moments remembered from a novel read years ago. In one of my first memories, I am lying on the floor reading newspaper headlines to my grandfather, who has been temporarily blinded by a cataract operation, and the cartoon on the editorial page shows a little fellow on skis defiantly standing up to a huge bear, who is wearing bandages and has the cartoon symbols signifying dizziness and pain scattered about his head. The bear is Russia, and this must be the Russo-Finnish “Winter War” of 1939–40, when I am seven. At some later moment in my childhood, I am pondering a photograph of Jean Sibelius, perhaps in Life. His head is spectacularly bald, whereas all the other composers I have seen depicted are very hairy. His eyes are shut, as if he were intently listening or having a headache, perhaps from the veins that stand out on his bald head. He lives in Finland, the caption tells me, among lakes and forests. Finland: a cold, shaggy place, far away. To me at that age the world is like a coloring book, full of outlined spaces. When one visits such a space, that colors it in. Although, by the age of fifty-five, I had been to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and, on the far side of Scandinavia, the Soviet Union, I had never been to Finland. All I had added to my images of Sibelius and Finnish valor were yards of splashy Marimekko fabric, with which my first wife had draped our windo

EAN: 9780812983791

Languages: English

Binding: Paperback

Item Condition: UsedLikeNew