By John Updike
Amassed jointly for the 1st time in hardcover, those eighteen vintage tales from throughout John Updike’s profession shape a luminous chronicle of the lifestyles and instances of 1 marriage in all its wealthy emotional complexity.
In 1956, Updike released a narrative, “Snowing in Greenwich Village,” a few younger couple, Joan and Richard Maple, firstly in their marriage. Over the subsequent 20 years, he back to those characters repeatedly, tracing their years jointly elevating kids, discovering moments of intermittent happiness, and dealing with the heartbreak of infidelity and estrangement. Seventeen Maples tales have been gathered in 1979 in a paperback version titled Too a ways to head, prompted via a tv variation. Now these tales look in hardcover for the 1st time, with the addition of a later tale, “Grandparenting,” which returns us to the Maples’s lives lengthy after their wrenching divorce.
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Extra resources for The Maples Stories
Though the Maples stories trace the decline and fall of a marriage, they also illumine a history in many ways happy, of growing children and a million mundane moments shared. That a marriage ends is less than ideal; but all things end under heaven, and if temporality is held to be invalidating, then nothing real succeeds. The moral of these stories is that all blessings are mixed. Also, that people are incorrigibly themselves. The musical pattern, the advance and retreat, of the Maples’ duet is repeated over and over, ever more harshly transposed.
WIFE-WOOING OH MY LOVE. Yes. Here we sit, on warm broad floorboards, before a fire, the children between us, in a crescent, eating. The girl and I share one half-pint of French-fried potatoes; you and the boy share another; and in the center, sharing nothing, making simple reflections within himself like a jewel, the baby, mounted in an Easybaby, sucks at his bottle with frowning mastery, his selfish, contemplative eyes stealing glitter from the center of the flames. And you. You. You allow your skirt, the same black skirt in which this morning you with woman’s soft bravery mounted a bicycle and sallied forth to play hymns in difficult keys on the Sunday school’s old piano – you allow this black skirt to slide off your raised knees down your thighs, slide up your thighs in your body’s absolute geography, so the parallel whiteness of their undersides is exposed to the fire’s warmth and to my sight.
Rebecca had still not taken off her coat. ’ ‘Yes. ’ ‘Well’ – his word was too loud; he finished the sentence too softly – ‘thanks for letting me see it. ’ He had noticed a copy of Auntie Mame lying on a hassock. ‘I haven’t had the time,’ she said. ‘I haven’t read it either. Just reviews. ’ This got him to the door. There, ridiculously, he turned. It was only at the door, he decided in retrospect, that her conduct was quite inexcusable: not only did she stand unnecessarily close, but, by shifting the weight of her body to one leg and leaning her head sidewise, she lowered her height several inches, placing him in a dominating position exactly suited to the broad, passive shadows she must have known were on her face.