A beautiful, moving collection of short stories, in many of which
Updike revisits the haunts of his childhood from the vantage point
of old age. In Fiftieth old friends reconnect at a class reunion,
and one of them is left wondering, 'What does it mean: the enormity
of having been children and now being old, living next to death.'
In the story The Full Glass the protagonist describes somewhat
ruefully the rituals of old age. Before going to bed, he raises his
nightly water glass 'drinking a toast to the visible world, his
impending disappearance from it be damned.' In Varieties of
Religious Experiences a grandfather, visiting his daughter in
Brooklyn Heights, watches the tower of the World Trade Centre fall,
and his view of a God is altered for ever. Again and again in these
memorable stories, Updike strikes to the heart, giving words to
what is so often left unsaid. He is at once witty, devastatingly
observant, touching - and, of course, a consummate storyteller.
This is a collection that will be admired and cherished.