Forget (nearly) everything else you’re reading: there’s a new posthumous collection of essays, reviews, poems and stories from John Updike‘s brilliant pen – Higher Gossip: Essays and Criticism. As I type, my ordered copy is in the hands of the USPS, which means that it could arrive any time between next week and some future Christmas. In the meantime, I’ve had to content myself with some reviews – one here, and another one here wherein Updike’s writing is described thus:
‘He was unstintingly alert to the significance with which, sometimes desperately, we invest the smallest incidents and sensations — especially in retrospect, when “customary reticence is discarded, as needless baggage from the forsaken world of midlife responsibilities,” and “our tears fatten upon our memories of joy.” He wrote with tactile intensity about everything, be it a boy petting with his first girlfriend in the car as moonlight “anointed her bare front with the shadows of raindrops still clinging to the windshield” or the feel of fingering the “merry dimples” of a golf ball’.
And while I’m mentioning reviews, I’ll give a shout out to this review of Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending, a brilliant book (and worthy winner of the 2011 Booker Prize), and certainly one of my favourite reads this year.