Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Faith, belief, tenacity

What other writers, young and old, prized most about Mr. Updike was his prose — that amazing instrument, like a jeweler’s loupe; so precise, exquisitely attentive and seemingly effortless. If there were a pill you could take to write like that, who wouldn’t swallow a handful? Equally inspiring was his faith in the writing itself. He toyed once or twice with magic realism, but the experiment never really worked and he gave it up. Though he loved Jorge Luis Borges, he didn’t in his own work go in for Borgesian mirror games, and he was free from the postmodern anxiety about the fictiveness of fiction, the unreliability of language. He was an old-fashioned realist, with an unswerving belief in the power of words to faithfully record experience and to enhance it. If other writers, younger ones especially, couldn’t quite subscribe to that belief, still it was reassuring to know that there was someone who did.

1 comment:

ccp said...

Hi there - I noticed you linked to Albert, Himself in your "friends who have written more books than I have" section. I went to Warren Wilson with Jeff and would like to re-connect - would you happen to have a current email?

Cass Pursell