Picked up one of his later collections at the Borders fire sale. I had almost forgotten about his marvelous sentences. He’s like the Ted Williams of prose.
One thing that I hadn’t really noticed before: his observations about children. They’re all a little damaged, too needy or too whiny or too independent.
And how could they be otherwise, when Updike’s great themes are adultery and divorce?
Another thing: his protagonists—generally aging, divorced, adulterous males—observe these children, are touched, and move on. In other words, the children elicit pathos, as does the particular sexual habits of someone else’s wife, as does, I don’t know, the change of seasons.
Updike’s writing is almost ridiculously sharp. But it seldom seems to get beneath the authorial self-regard.