Remembering John Updike

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Author John Updike speaks at BookExpo America 2006 at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, Saturday, May 20, 2006. Updike recently released his novel "Terrorist." (AP)
John Updike at BookExpo America in Washington, May 20, 2006.(AP)

He was the author of more than 60 books — novels, poems, essays and reviews. A book a year or thereabouts. He was a poet of suburbia, a lifelong Christian, a writer whose sex scenes could make almost anyone blush. Above all, he was a grand chronicler of the American century.

Writing of baseball great Ted Williams, Updike wrote, “Gods do not answer letters.” Updike, like Williams, was a prodigy. And America has lost its great man of letters.

This hour, On Point: Remembering John Updike.

You can join the conversation. What’s your favorite Updike novel, story, poem? What will you remember most about this American man of letters?Guests:

From Amherst, Mass., we're joined by William Pritchard, a distinguished literary critic and professor of English at Amherst College. He’s one of the great Updike scholars, and had a long-running correspondence with him. He’s the author of “Updike: America’s Man of Letters.”

And with us in our studio is Sue Miller, author of "The Senator's Wife," "The Good Mother," and other novels.

More links:

On Point host Tom Ashbrook interviewed Updike twice in recent years: about his acclaimed art criticism in Sept. 2005, and about his novel "Terrorist" in June 2006.

The Boston Globe's Mark Feeney writes the stand-out obit on Updike.  Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times has a warm appreciation.  An A-list cast of New Yorker contributors remembers him.

The Globe also posts Updike's famous sendoff for Ted Williams, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu."

This program aired on January 28, 2009.


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