The Magazine

Teller of Tales

The definitive Updike, in two volumes.

Oct 21, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 07 • By WILLIAM H. PRITCHARD
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The man, in every sense a stand-in for the author, proceeds to recall and review a number of “full glass” moments from his past. As the story ends, the man with his “life-prolonging pills” cupped in his left hand, there is one final reflection: “If I can read this strange old guy’s mind aright, he’s drinking a toast to the visible world, his impending disappearance from it be damned.” I can’t imagine a fictional endpoint more poignant, and also more bemused, than this strange old guy celebrating the visible world that Updike made so fully visible to us in his lifetime of writing.

William H. Pritchard is Henry Clay Folger professor of English at Amherst College.