John Updike's most popular creation, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, is an enduring figure in American literature, the series of books built around his various mundane tragedies (beginning with Brix Pick Rabbit, Run) are intensely emotionally draining which is probably why it's taken me a few years to complete the?five book saga – but soul crushing aside, Updike was an amazing writer who deserved all the accolades and praise he garnered throughout his long and prolific career.
Described rather well in this article as “A gentle satirist, poking fun at American life and customs, without any mean-spirited nihilism. He observed the ordinary life he saw around him, and frequently asked the reader to recognize and reconsider preconceptions.” Updike, who astutely noted that sex, art, and religion are “the three great secret things” in human experience, grew up in Pennsylvania, then attended college at Harvard. He made Ipswich his home for several years, drawing plenty of inspiration from the quaint New England surroundings; I fondly remember watching this movie's particular examination of three Massachusetts women (though the book took place in Rhode Island) when I was a kid.
Nerdily handsome with a beautiful hawk-like nose and the kind of smile that betrayed his compassion for the defects of every day men, he dressed in v-necks and tweed – very much the way you'd expect the “last great man of American letters” (as he was described in this Salon interview) to dress.
Updike sadly died of lung cancer last week. He was 76 years old.