The Early Stories, 1953-1975 by John Updike
In Flight The Early Stories, 1953-1975 by John Updike
Knopf. 838 pp. $35.00
Reviewed by Thomas L. Jeffers
“There we all are, and there we’ll all be forever,” sighs a mother overlooking a small Pennsylvania town in the mid-1940’s. Pausing, she adds: “Except you, Allen. You’re going to fly.”
This is how John Updike (born 1932) opens his 1959 story, “Flight”— with a by no means singular indication that the lad from Shillington, PA (always named Olinger in his early fiction) had an ambitious mother as well as a supportive father; that he would go on scholarship to Harvard, where he would graduate summa cum laude in English; and that he would soar to still greater things—a year studying draftsmanship at the Ruskin School at Oxford, another year and a half working on staff at the New Yorker, and then, still in his mid-twenties, writing stories for that magazine from his new home in Ipswich, Massachusetts.
About the Author
Thomas L. Jeffers is the editor of The Norman Podhoretz Reader, to be published by the Free Press this month.