Nathan Bransford | Writing, Book Editing, Publishing
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January 27, 2009 by Nathan Bransford 20 Comments
Wow. Another titan has fallen.
Margaret Yang says
January 27, 2009 at 6:51 pm
January 27, 2009 at 6:53 pm
Oh..really? That’s sad. Thanks for the update.
Miss Viola Bookworm says
January 27, 2009 at 7:53 pm
I was lucky enough once to hear John Updike speak with Kurt Vonnegut at Butler University in Indianapolis. It was definitely one of the highlights of my life in terms of my appreciation for incredible writing and storytelling. Today is definitely a sad day. 🙁
When people ask me my favorite authors, I tell them: Faulkner, Woolf, Joyce, and Updike. And sometimes I put Updike first. He is — was — such a master. And so prolific! He amazed me. I met him once at a lecture in 2001 and had no idea what to say to him when I went up to shake his hand and have my books signed.
What I said was:“You’re John Updike!”
And he said, “I know.”
I absolutely love his Rabbit books (of which I have three complete sets on my bookshelf!), and reading them for the first time was a seminal event in my growth as a writer. I’ve always been a character-driven writer, and the Rabbit series represents the pinnacle of character fiction, to me.
January 27, 2009 at 8:09 pm
Toooooo sad! I never liked his work. Then one evening back in the 80s, I was reading the New Yorker and became enthralled by an eloquent, heart-piercing essay about a young guy growing up with psoriasis, a condition he shared with his mom. Yep, it was by John Updike. I’ve been reading his stuff ever since. How I wish his last book had better reviews!
Wordver: imendeal. Is it “I’m in a deal,” or a name out of The Lord of the Rings?
January 27, 2009 at 8:13 pm
Miss Viola Bookworm,
I frequently saw Vonnegut strolling around NYC in the East 50-60 streets area. TONS of people noticed him. You couldn’t ignore him, he was so tall! He looked like an elongated, brown-haired Mark Twain with indigestion–but not uninclined to say hello if you made eye contact. 😉
January 27, 2009 at 8:19 pm
He was a great writer. I took a course on him in grad school, and still think back on it fondly. The course was with my favourite Prof, who also passed away fairly recently. I’ll miss ’em both.
January 27, 2009 at 8:25 pm
easily my favorite author of our time. I’m sad.
January 27, 2009 at 8:29 pm
Sad news indeed.
TERI REES WANG says
January 27, 2009 at 8:47 pm
Ahh…even more to read, and no enough to write…“Love makes the air light”.
Ugly Deaf Muslim Punk Gurl! says
January 27, 2009 at 8:49 pm
I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read any of his works… *blushes*
January 27, 2009 at 8:50 pm
I read his “The Centaur” when I was in high school… voluntarily, strangely enough, since it wasn’t part of the curriculum. It was a dense and difficult book, but beautiful.
Wordver: duckieveDefn: an apparatus for filtering ducks by size.
Marilyn Peake says
January 27, 2009 at 9:20 pm
I saw that on the news earlier today and felt very sad. I love his writing.
Lady Glamis says
January 27, 2009 at 9:42 pm
Oh, sad. Thank you for letting us know, Nathan.
Tom Burchfield says
January 27, 2009 at 10:02 pm
Sad indeed; I was never a fan of his fiction, but I always read his articles and essays with great pleasure. Will very much miss seeing his byline in The New Yorker.
January 27, 2009 at 10:19 pm
Very sad, he was a titan indeed. I also agree on liking his essays best.
I also want to thank you sincerely for confirming my suspicions about Twitter. I’ve resisted it for exactly the same reasons. My dog and cell-phoning relatives provide all the interruptions (besides regular Net and email) that I need in a day.
January 27, 2009 at 10:32 pm
He really could make you gasp with a turn of phrase, an observation.
“The trimmed large bushes of the groomed yards, the yews and aborvitae and rhododendrons, look alert by night, like jungle creatures come to the waterhole and caught in a camera’s flash.” – Rabbit at Rest
William Dean Howells spoke of “the novelist’s anxiety to produce an image that is startling and impressive, as well as true”. Startling and impressive and true describe Updike’s prose perfectly.
January 27, 2009 at 10:49 pm
I know, it’s so sad. 🙁 I went to college in Reading and my school like… worshiped the local legend. 🙁
January 28, 2009 at 9:59 am
The Independent once compared him to Bob Dylan –
The rabbit is at rest…Rich
January 29, 2009 at 5:10 pm
I saw him at the Chicago Cultural Center during the Printer’s Row Book Fair a few years ago. He was promoting “Terrorist.” He looked really good — a well-spoken, worldly guy at the very top of his game. Life is strange.
“They are waiting to take usinto the severed garden. You know how pale and wanton thrillfulcomes death in the strange hour? Unannounced, unplanned for,like a scaring, over-friendly guestyou’ve brought to bed. Death makes angels of us all, and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as ravens’ claws.
No more money, no more fancy dress,this other kingdom seems the best. Until its other jaw reveals incest, and loose obedienceto a vegetable law. I will not go. I prefer a feast of friendsto the giant family.”
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