Monday, June 09, 2008
John Updike, Marry Me
John Updike, Marry Me. The older I get the more I love John Updike's language, and the more I recoil from his characters. I don't know why I keep coming back to him, but I do. There is something there that draws me, even in the most woeful of his books. But really, his suburban adultery stories I find the most hopeless and dismal to read of almost anything. I'd like to check out one of his really good novels or better short stories to cleanse my mind. This particular book was the story of two couples and the excruciating mess they make of their lives. Although Jerry, Sally, Richard, and Ruth are scummy and irritating, there is just such sorrow and lostness in their descriptions (not in themselves, really, but in aspects of themselves), well, I can't explain it but I find it somehow compelling. He's writing about miserable, cowardly people, but not to redeem, exalt, or make examples of them. They are just people. Not very nice people. But recognizable.