Opinion

Remembering John Updike (1932-2009)

The summer I turned 18 I bought a Penguin paperback edition of John Updike’s novel Rabbit, Run in the back of small antique bookstore in Copenhagen, where I used to go after school. It was unlike anything I had ever read before; the prose was like poetry, demanding to be read aloud.

After the summer I came back to look for more of his books – Roger’s Version, Couples, Marry Me. Over the years he has been with me wherever I’ve studied and occupied my time, whether my dorm room in Canterbury, my father’s old apartment in Copenhagen or Miami, of course. Even at a small restaurant in Munich I remember being hunched over his collected poems.

John Updike’s death last week of lung cancer at the age of 76 affected me deeply. As a reader, my relationship to him was sometimes ambivalent but always alive. His overwhelming literary output inevitably led to novelistic failures, yet when he succeeded (as he often did) he succeeded with the force and beauty that made him the English language’s most brilliant contemporary stylist. As a writer, nothing escaped his vast and generous scope. His frequent contributions to The New Yorker, whether poetry, essays or criticism, seemed a necessity for sustaining life, like rays of sunlight.

Now that he is gone, we console ourselves at the thought of the countless books he has left behind, the many other writers whose work he has influenced. But without him the world seems smaller, poorer. A great mind has left us. I miss him already.

February 1, 2009

Reporters

Morten Hoi Jensen

Contributing Opinion Writer


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

One day left for the youngsters to show University of Miami coach Mark Richt what they can do. One d ...

Former Miami Norland High star Zach Johnson is coming home for his final year of college basketball. ...

They have been feted and adored for years by football fans from coast to coast. But legends Frank Go ...

Remember that “hit list’’ the University of Miami football team had last year? Florida State, North ...

One is a former NBA first-rounder who played 13 seasons after starring for the Miami Hurricanes in t ...

The Energy and Conservation Organization was recognized with the 2018 Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foot ...

The Brazilian judge whose office spearheaded a massive corruption and bribery investigation said tha ...

The director of the University of Miami's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, who passed away Ap ...

Business Professor Patricia Abril, and Trustee Stuart Miller receive Faculty Senate's highest h ...

Edgerrin James, Reggie Wayne, Kellen Winslow II, Jon Beason and Lamar Thomas were among the football ...

Miami came up short in Game 1 of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon, falling to visiting Pitt, 3-0, a ...

Canes shoot 2-under on back nine; Weber third overall at 2-under 70. ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team will conclude its regular season Sunday with a home d ...

Kevin Arreaga smashed a school record in the men's hammer throw to lead the University of Miami ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.