The Music School is a place of learning, in which a sheltered South Dakota boy meets his roommate at Harvard, a rebel with whom he will have a violent—and ambiguous—physical encounter; a warring married couple, Richard and Joan Maple, try and try again to find solace in sex; and Henry Bech, an unprolific American writer publicizing himself far from home, enjoys a moment of improbable, poignant, untranslatable connection with a Bulgarian poetess. In these twenty short stories, each evidence of his early mastery, John Updike brings us a world—a world of fumbling, pausing, and beginning again; a world sensitively felt and lovingly expressed; a world whose pianissimoharmonies demand new subtleties of fictional form.
John Updike was the author of more than sixty books, including collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His novels have been honored with the Pulitzer Prize (twice), the National Book Award, and the Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Hugging the Shore, an earlier collection of essays and reviews, received the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. He died in January 2009.
“[John Updike is] a master of prose as supple, luscious and precise as any since Nabokov. . . . The Music School collects some of his best stories.”—The Washington Post
“Beautifully written . . . exquisitely artful . . . a triumph of delicate perception and precise expression.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Superior examples of every sort of story that Updike writes . . . Is there another American writer who gives such continuous proof of the power of art?”—The Nation