John Updike

John Updike, like Cheever, is also regarded as a writer of manners with his suburban settings, domestic themes, reflections of ennui and wistfulness, and, particularly, his fictional locales on the eastern seaboard, in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Updike is best known for his four Rabbit books, depictions of the life of a man -- Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom -- through the ebbs and flows of his existence across four decades of American social and political history. Rabbit, Run (1960) is a mirror of the 1950s, with Angstrom an aimless, disaffected young husband. Rabbit Redux (1971) -- spotlighting the counterculture of the 1960s -- finds Angstrom still without a clear goal or purpose or viable escape route from mundaneness. In Rabbit Is Rich (1981), Harry has become prosperous through an inheritance against the landscape of the wealthy self-centeredness of the 1970s, as the Vietnam era wanes. The final volume, Rabbit at Rest (1990), glimpses Angstrom's reconciliation with life, and inadvertent death, against the backdrop of the 1980s.

Among Updike's other novels are The Centaur (1963), Couples (1968), and Bech: A Book (1970). He possesses the most brilliant style of any writer today, and his short stories offer scintillating examples of its range and inventiveness. Collections include The Same Door (1959), The Music School (1966), Museums and Women (1972), Too Far To Go (1979), and Problems (1979). He has also written several volumes of poetry and essays.