John Updike

John Updike is an American novelist and literary critic.

John Updike

John Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Harvard in 1954 with a degree in English, he became a regular contributor to The New Yorker. Although he only worked there for two years, the publication would publish him frequently throughout his life. Updike wrote four novels featuring a protagonist named Rabbit Angstrom, a man who was emblematic of middle-class America. Later, Updike’s novels explored the decline of social mores, including infidelity and adultery. Over his lifetime, Updike published dozens of novels and short stories, poetry, art criticism, literary criticism and children’s books. He is one of only three authors to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction multiple times.

cover image of the book The Adventures of Mao on the Long March

The Adventures of Mao on the Long March

by Frederic Tuten

With a contribution by John Updike

An icon of literature as American Pop Art, Frederic Tuten’s Adventures of Mao on the Long March is a triumphantly witty and subversive novel. The New York Times called it “almost too good to be true.” Tuten’s deadpan textbook narrative of Mao’s Long March is peppered with loving parodies of Hemingway, Kerouac, Dos Passos, and Malamud. As John Updike comments, the book includes “twenty-seven pages of straight history of the Long March (October 1934-October 1935), done in a neutral, factual tone, as by a fellow-traveling _Readers Digest…_thirty-six and a half pages of quotations in quotation marks…and twenty-six pages of what might be considered normal novelistic substance—imaginary encounters and conversation. For an example: ‘a tank, covered with peonies and laurels, advances towards him. Mao thinks the tank will crush him, but it clanks to a halt. The turret rises, hesitantly. Greta Garbo, dressed in red sealskin boots, red railway-man’s cap, and red satin coveralls, emerges. She speaks: “Mao, I have been bad in Moscow and wicked in Paris, I have been loved in every capital, but I have never seen a MAN whom I could love. That Man is you, Mao, Mao mine.” Mao considers this dialectically. The woman is clearly mad. Yet she is beautiful and the tank seems to work.’”

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