The Early Stories 1953-1975 by John Updike - review by John Dugdale

John Dugdale

Too Old To Rebel

The Early Stories 1953-1975


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CONTAINING 103 STORIES, this gigantic collection runs from the tranquillised 1950s to the hectic 1970s, beginning with prepubescent boys nursing crushes on classmates and ending with divorcees adrift in their forties. With the pieces organised so that their heroes become steadily older, rather than in order of composition, the volume traces the seven ages of Updikean man in mid-life (school, college, early marriage, children, adultery, divorce, second bachelorhood), with a final miscellaneous section including more playful offerings.

As Updike writes in his introduction, he and his white, well-off, north-eastern characters belong to a Depression-born generation who were too young to fight in the 1940s and too old to rebel in the 1960s; who were 'pleased by the relaxation of the old sexual morality, without suffering much of

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