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June 01, 2004


Lily Toppenish

Thanks for this post. I don't read novels much lately but it's somehow comforting to know that an American writer whose work I admire speaks like that about recent events. I also enjoyed and admired Doctorow, but reading about his commencement speech at Hofstra I was unpleasantly surprised--more by how trite and self-important his thoughts were for the occasion than by his opposition to the Iraq war. Not that I necessarily condone the boos he received from his audience.


Yes it was a fantastic programme - in the last phase of the interview, his description of the 'tensions of human life' and of the fallibility of man, was perfectly expressed and managed to invoke a remarkable pathos - just from a few short comments. Must read the books straight away!

WJ Phillips

When asked why he hadn't become a bloviating public intellectual, Updike replied: "Think how much time Norman Mailer wastes being Norman Mailer."


His affection for the small-town America so despised by America's intelectual elites is admirable in a time when it is fashionable to ridicule and traduce traditional Americans.

Updike likes people, and admires idealism. I think for example that Jessica Lynch is very much the kind of person Updike admires, whereas most of his literary contemporaries look down on the "undeducated masses" and ordinary people, whereas Updike sees the beauty and tragedies of ordinary life.

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