The Early Stories: 1953-1975

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The Early Stories: 1953-1975

by John Updike

Random House Publishing Group | September 28, 2004 | Trade Paperback

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Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
 
A harvest and not a winnowing, this volume collects 103 stories, almost all of the short fiction that John Updike wrote between 1953 and 1975. "How rarely it can be said of any of our great American writers that they have been equally gifted in both long and short forms," reads the citation composed for John Updike upon his winning the 2006 Rea Award for the Short Story. "Contemplating John Updike's monumental achievement in the short story, one is moved to think of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, and perhaps William Faulkner-writers whose reputations would be as considerable, or nearly, if short stories had been all that they had written. From [his] remarkable early short story collections . . . through his beautifully nuanced stories of family life [and] the bittersweet humors of middle age and beyond . . . John Updike has created a body of work in the notoriously difficult form of the short story to set beside those of these distinguished American predecessors. Congratulations and heartfelt thanks are due to John Updike for having brought such pleasure and such illumination to so many readers for so many years."

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 864 Pages, 5.91 × 9.06 × 1.18 in

Published: September 28, 2004

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345463366

ISBN - 13: 9780345463364

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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– More About This Product –

The Early Stories: 1953-1975

The Early Stories: 1953-1975

by John Updike

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 864 Pages, 5.91 × 9.06 × 1.18 in

Published: September 28, 2004

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345463366

ISBN - 13: 9780345463364

About the Book

A harvest and not a winnowing, "The Early Stories" preserves almost all of the short fiction John Updike published between 1954 and 1975. Of these 103 stories, 80 first appeared in "The New Yorker," and the remaining 23 in other journals.

Read from the Book

You’ll Never Know, Dear, How Much I Love You Carnival! In the vacant lot behind the old ice plant! Trucks have been unloading all afternoon; the WhirloGig has been unfolded like a giant umbrella, they assembled the baby Ferris wheel with an Erector Set. Twice the trucks got stuck in the mud. Straw has been strewn everywhere. They put up a stage and strung lights. Now, now, gather your pennies; supper is over and an hour of light is left in the long summer day. See, Sammy Hunnenhauser is running; Gloria Gring and her gang have been there all afternoon, they never go home, oh hurry, let me go; how awful it is to have parents that are poor, and slow, and sad! Fifty cents. The most Ben could beg. A nickel for every year of his life. It feels like plenty. Over the roof of crazy Mrs. Moffert’s house, the Ferris wheel tints the air with pink, and the rim of this pink mixes in his excitement with the great notched rim of the coin sweating in his hand. This house, then this house, and past the ice plant, and he will be there. Already the rest of the world is there, he is the last, hurrying, hurrying, the balloon is about to take off, the Ferris wheel is lifting; only he will be left behind, on empty darkening streets. Then there, what to buy? There are not so many people here. Grownups carrying babies mosey glassily on the straw walks. All the booth people, not really Gypsies, stare at him, and beckon weakly. It hurts him to ignore the man with the three old softballs, and
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From the Publisher

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
 
A harvest and not a winnowing, this volume collects 103 stories, almost all of the short fiction that John Updike wrote between 1953 and 1975. "How rarely it can be said of any of our great American writers that they have been equally gifted in both long and short forms," reads the citation composed for John Updike upon his winning the 2006 Rea Award for the Short Story. "Contemplating John Updike's monumental achievement in the short story, one is moved to think of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, and perhaps William Faulkner-writers whose reputations would be as considerable, or nearly, if short stories had been all that they had written. From [his] remarkable early short story collections . . . through his beautifully nuanced stories of family life [and] the bittersweet humors of middle age and beyond . . . John Updike has created a body of work in the notoriously difficult form of the short story to set beside those of these distinguished American predecessors. Congratulations and heartfelt thanks are due to John Updike for having brought such pleasure and such illumination to so many readers for so many years."

From the Jacket

""He is a religious writer; he is a comic realist; he knows what everything feels like, how everything works. He is putting together a body of work which in substantial intelligent creation will eventually be seen as second to none in our time."
--William H. Pritchard, The Hudson Review, reviewing Museums and Women (1972)
A harvest and not a winnowing, "The Early Stories preserves almost all of the short fiction John Updike published between 1954 and 1975.
The stories are arranged in eight sections, of which the first, "Olinger Stories," already appeared as a paperback in 1964; in its introduction, Updike described Olinger, Pennsylvania, as "a square mile of middle-class homes physically distinguished by a bend in the central avenue that compels some side streets to deviate from the grid pattern." These eleven tales, whose heroes age from ten to over thirty but remain at heart Olinger boys, are followed by groupings titled "Out in the World," "Married Life," and "Family Life," tracing a common American trajectory. Family life is disrupted by the advent of "The Two Iseults," a bifurcation originating in another small town, Tarbox, Massachusetts, where the Puritan heritage co-exists with post-Christian morals. "Tarbox Tales" are followed by "Far Out," a group of more or less experimental fictions on the edge of domestic space, and "The Single Life," whose protagonists are unmarried and unmoored.
Of these one hundred three stories, eighty first appeared in "The New Yorker, and the other twenty-three in journals from the enduring "Atlantic Monthly and "Harper''s to the defunct "Big Table and" Transatlantic Review. All show Mr. Updike''s wit and verbal felicity, his reverencefor ordinary life, and his love of the transient world.

"From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

John Updike was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania, in 1932. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954 and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal. In 2007 he received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. John Updike died in January 2009.

Editorial Reviews

"Classic gems . . . These stories, like Mr. Updike's finest novels . . . preserve a time and a place through the sorcery of words."-The New York Times
 
"[Updike is] akin to Coleridge and Shelley, only with an American twist. One story at a time, he [reminds] Americans that in spite of life's largesse, things fail; one sentence at a time, he reveals that through the small details, it can be sublime."-The Denver Post
 
"Updike's artistry-normally glimpsed in sections, like a person through window slats-is wholly and deeply seen. . . . One reads through the plenitude with delight, expectation, and at all times gratitude."-The Atlantic Monthly
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