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Beschreibung des Verlags
John Updike is known more for the perfection of his prose than the pacing of his plots. At least, that is an observation one might infer from his critics, who commonly complain that his stories have a surplus of style over substance--although even the most ardent among them admit that his style is sufficient to sustain interest in the most minimal of narrative actions. This backhanded praise of Updike's literary achievement is heard so often that it is worth pausing to ponder. The power of his prose comes, at least in part, from the way he applies his expansively metaphorical imagination to the most tapered slices of perception. In Updike's verbal economy, a maximally exuberant splurge of language is required for the most efficient animation of matters that are seemingly insignificant. This paradox of a style that is as demonstrable as its subject matter is restrained leaves some readers cold, as if Updike generates a lot of heat without producing any goods. Reading Updike in the context of contemporary popular culture highlights the virtues of his unapologetic literariness. The silver screen has cast its golden aura across the spectrum of media technologies, making movies the measure of our lives. We stare blankly at the speed by which movies flip through images like a pack of deftly dealt cards. Our eyes are so strained by the ocular imperative to lay reality bare that we almost forget how unknowable the world is when stripped of language's garment. From this perspective, the patience of Updike's focus on the delicacy of life's overlooked details constitutes a radical riposte to our image-soaked society. His signature sentences, which unwind slowly with a serpentine precision only to end, frequently, with surprising sharpness, taunt our dulled senses. Updike lights up the ordinary in order to discipline our desires for the immediacy of visual seduction.