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“A drop of truth, of lived experience, glistens in each.” This is how John Updike, one of the world’s most acclaimed novelists, modestly describes his nonfiction work, the brilliant and graceful essays and criticism he has written for more than five decades. Due Considerations is his sixth collection, and perhaps the most moving, stylish, and personal volume yet. Here he reflects on such writers and works as Emerson, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Colson Whitehead, The Wizard of Oz, Don DeLillo, The Portrait of a Lady, Margaret Atwood, The Mabinogion, and Proust. Updike also provides a whimsical and insightful list of “Ten Epochal Moments in the American Libido,” from Pocahontas and John Smith to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky; muses on how the practice of faith changes but doesn’t disappear; and shares his reaction to the attacks on 9/11 (in Brooklyn that day, “Freedom, reflected in the street’s diversity and quotidian ease, felt palpable”). Due Considerations proves that John Updike is, as noted in The Boston Globe, “our greatest critic of literature.”
Praise for Due Considerations:
A New York Times Notable Book
“The prose is clean, elegant, exquisitely calibrated. . . . [Updike is] one of the best essayists and critics this country has produced in the last century.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Updike’s scope is rather breathtaking. . . . When I do not know the subject well–as in his finely illustrated art reviews of Bruegel, Dürer and Goya–I learn much from what Updike has to impart. When he considers an author I love, like Proust or Czeslaw Milosz, I often find myself appreciating familiar things in a new way.”
–Christopher Hitchens, The New York Times Book Review
“With his pack-rat curiosity . . . his prodigious memory and attendant knack for choosing the ‘just-right’ fact or quote, and his ever-present astonishment at both the stupidity and genius on display wherever he looks, Updike is in many ways an ideal critic. . . . It is a privilege to be in the company of this wonderfully American voice.”
–Rocky Mountain News
“Updike knows more about literature than almost anyone breathing today. . . . He's beyond knowledgeable–he makes Google look wanting.”
“Provocative and incisive . . . This volume reminds us that [Updike’s] prose sets our literary bar very high indeed.”