J. D. Salinger, who was thought at one time to be the most important American writer to emerge since World War II but who then turned his back on success and adulation, becoming the Garbo of letters, famous for not wanting to be famous, died Wednesday at his home in Cornish, N.H., where he had lived in seclusion for more than 50 years. He was 91.
Dominick Dunne, who gave up producing movies in midlife and reinvented himself as a best-selling author, magazine writer, television personality and reporter whose celebrity often outshone that of his subjects, died Wednesday at his home in Manhattan. He was 83.
Marilyn French, a writer and feminist activist whose debut novel, ‘The Women’s Room,’ propelled her into a leading role in the modern feminist movement, died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 79 and lived in Manhattan.
. . .
With steely views about the treatment of woman and a gift for expressing them on the printed page, Ms. French transformed herself from an academic who quietly bristled at the expectations of married women in the post-World War II era to a leading, if controversial, opinionmaker on gender issues who decried the patriarchal society she saw around her. ‘My goal in life is to change the entire social and economic structure of Western civilization, to make it a feminist world,’ she once declared.
This week’s Scout Report has a good round-up of items about the death–and life–of John Updike:
John Updike, Critic and Author, Dies At Age 76
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author John Updike Dies at Age 76 [Real Player]
For better or worse, John Updike produced a nearly endless stream of work
John Updike: This I Believe [Real Player]
Invisible Cathedral: A Walk Through the New Modern
Updike Desert Comix
Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu
This Tuesday, John Updike, chronicler of the American condition in the mid and late twentieth century passed away in Danvers, Massachusetts. Throughout his six decades of writing, Updike found time to write about the world of suburban existence (and ennui), colonial Africa, a Jewish writer in Eastern Europe, and a group of women living in a small New England Town in The Witches of Eastwick, and its 2008 follow-up volume, The Widows of Eastwick. Updike was always the polymath, and during his student days at Harvard University, he found time to write and draw cartoons for the Harvard Lampoon. He continued his diverse pursuits throughout his life, as he wrote a great deal of literary criticism for publications like The New Yorker and The New York Times. In an interview, Updike remarked that his primary subject was “Protestant, small-town middle class.” Literary organizations and institutions responded positively to his various narratives, as he was the recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes, the National Book Award, and three National Book Critics’ Circle awards during his lifetime. [KMG]
The first link will take users to a news story from National Public Radio this Wednesday, which reports on Updike’s passing. The second link leads to a lovely selection of Updike remembrances offered by fellow literary travelers Joyce Carol Oates, Paul Theroux, Richard Ford, and others. Moving on, the third link leads to a reflection on Updike’s work and legacy by David L. Ulin, which appeared in this Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times. The fourth link will whisk users away Updike’s personal essay from 2005 offered as part of the “This I Believe” series. The fifth link leads to Updike’s assessment of the new Museum of Modern Art, which appeared in the November 15, 2004 edition of The New Yorker. The sixth link will take interested parties to one of the “comix” he created for the Harvard Lampoon during his stay in Cambridge. Finally, the last link leads to one of Updike’s most beloved pieces of writing (particularly for baseball fans), “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu”. It’s a piece that describes the world of Ted Williams as he prepares for his last game with the Boston Red Sox, and it’s one that’s worth rereading, even if it might be the twentieth time. [KMG]
>From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2009. http://scout.wisc.edu/
Endowed with an art student’s pictorial imagination, a journalist’s sociological eye and a poet’s gift for metaphor, John Updike — who died on Tuesday at 76 — was arguably this country’s one true all-around man of letters, moving fluently from fiction to criticism, from light verse to short stories to the long-distance form of the novel: a literary decathlete in our age of electronic distraction and willful specialization, Victorian in his industriousness and almost blogger-like in his determination to turn every scrap of knowledge and experience into words.
More on this American author, who died earlier today.
NEW YORK (AP) — John Updike, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, prolific man of letters and erudite chronicler of sex, divorce and other adventures in the postwar prime of the American empire, died Tuesday at age 76.
Updike, a resident of Beverly Farms, Mass., died of lung cancer, according to a statement from his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf.
A literary writer who frequently appeared on best-seller lists, the tall, hawk-nosed Updike wrote novels, short stories, poems, criticism, the memoir ”Self-Consciousness” and even a famous essay about baseball great Ted Williams. He was prolific, even compulsive, releasing more than 50 books in a career that started in the 1950s. Updike won virtually every literary prize, including two Pulitzers, for ”Rabbit Is Rich” and ”Rabbit at Rest,” and two National Book Awards.
Donald E. Westlake, a prolific, award-winning mystery novelist who pounded out more than 100 books and five screenplays on manual typewriters during his half-century career, died Wednesday night. He was 75.
Aw, darn. The audiobook currently playing on my iPod is The Road to Ruin, one of the recent offerings in the Dortmunder series. Westlake has been one of my favorite authors through the years.
As this article points out, Westlake has written under several pseudonyms as well as his real name during his prolific writing lifetime. However, in recent years he has concentrated on the Dortmunder series, published under his real name, and the Parker series, published under the name Richard Stark. John Dortmunder is the leader of a cozy group of criminal misfits who come up with lots of big ideas but whose best laid plans always seem to go wrong, leaving them to bungle through somehow. The Dortmunder novels are in a subgenre known as the caper novel and are quite entertaining. Ya gotta love these guys. The Parker novels, on the other hand, are–well, stark. Parker is betrayed by his wife at the beginning of the series, and this sets the tone for the rest of the books. Everyone betrays everyone else, usually quite brutally. Guys who’ve done things so bad that their rivals put out kill-on-sight hit orders on them hire surgeons to give them a whole new face–then kill the doctors after the surgery to ensure they won’t talk. A long time ago I read somewhere that the idea for the Parker novels came to Westlake once while he was stuck on a bridge in New York City, his hometown. I don’t remember now whether Dortmunder or Parker came first, but Westlake conceived of the two series as direct opposites.
This article says that another Westlake book, Get Real, is due to be published this April. I hope it’s a Dortmunder.
Michael Crichton, the author of the blockbuster science-fiction novels ‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘The Andromeda Strain’ and ‘State of Fear,’ has died. He was 66.
Here are two retrospectives on Tony Hillerman:
- In Appreciation of Tony Hillerman, The Christian Science Monitor
- bestselling mystery author provided insight into the native people and culture of the Southwest, Los Angeles Times
The Associated Press has reported the death of novelist Tony Hillerman,”whose lyrical, authentic and compelling mystery novels set among the Navajos of the Southwest blazed innovative trails in the American detective story,” according to New York Times reviewer Marilyn Stasio.