Year’s end: Hit me strangest

It was the death of John Updike.

Through decades I was interested in what he had to say as a critic, and he was usually the only reason I would pick up an issue of The New Yorker. I respected him, even loved him.

When he died I got such a surge of energy as a writer that I wrote a novel in about seventy-five days.

Updike was a master. I am just one of his many students, but when I think of him, I feel like I am sitting in a comfortable room with a man of quiet forceful insight, brightly expressed, that refuses to let up. In the end, it is his sentences and paragraphs I admire. I don’t care that much about the books.

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