S.: a novel

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Knopf, Feb 12, 1988 - Fiction - 279 pages
5 Reviews
S. is Sarah Worth -- doctor's wife, North Shore matron, loving mother, and now (suddenly!) ardent follower of a Hindu religious leader known as the Arhat. As this brilliant and very funny novel opens, Sarah is fleeing the confinement of her suburban life to become a sannyasin (pilgrim) at her guru's Arizona ashram.

In the letters and audiocassettes that Sarah sends to her husband, daughter, mother, brother, best friend -- to her psychiatrist and her hairdresser and her dentist -- master novelist John Updike gives us a witty comedy of manners, a biting satire of life on a religious commune, and the story -- deep and true -- of an American woman in search of herself.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jbarr5 - LibraryThing

S by John Updike This book is a compilation of letters from Sarah Worth as she writes to many others who live back home. She has left Charles and has moved to the west. She goes on and on and on about ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pnorman4345 - LibraryThing

A doctor's wife from the northshore goes to an ashram in Arizona to find enlightenment and finds all the usual problems that humans have, but does manage to throw off many of the deceptions of a more conventional life. Lots of fun satire. Read full review

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
21
Section 3
22
Copyright

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About the author (1988)

American novelist, poet, and critic John Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on March 18, 1932. He received an A.B. degree from Harvard University, which he attended on a scholarship, in 1954. After graduation, he accepted a one-year fellowship to study painting at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford, England. After returning from England in 1955, he worked for two years on the staff of The New Yorker. This marked the beginning of a long relationship with the magazine, during which he has contributed numerous short stories, poems, and book reviews. Although Updike's first published book was a collection of verse, The Carpentered Hen and Other Tame Creatures (1958), his renown as a writer is based on his fiction, beginning with The Poorhouse Fair (1959). During his lifetime, he wrote more than 50 books and primarily focused on middle-class America and their major concerns---marriage, divorce, religion, materialism, and sex. Among his best-known works are the Rabbit tetrology---Rabbit, Run (1960), Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit Is Rich (1981), and Rabbit at Rest (1988). Rabbit, Run introduces Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom as a 26-year-old salesman of dime-store gadgets trapped in an unhappy marriage in a dismal Pennsylvania town, looking back wistfully on his days as a high school basketball star. Rabbit Redux takes up the story 10 years later, and Rabbit's relationship with representative figures of the 1960s enables Updike to provide social commentary in a story marked by mellow wisdom and compassion in spite of some shocking jolts. In Rabbit Is Rich, Harry is comfortably middle-aged and complacent, and much of the book seems to satirize the country-club set and the swinging sexual/social life of Rabbit and his friends. Finally, in Rabbit at Rest, Harry arrives at the age where he must confront his mortality. Updike won the Pulitzer Prize for both Rabbit Is Rich and Rabbit at Rest. Updike's other novels range widely in subject and locale, from The Poorhouse Fair, about a home for the aged that seems to be a microcosm for society as a whole, through The Court (1978), about a revolution in Africa, to The Witches of Eastwick (1984), in which Updike tries to write from inside the sensibilities of three witches in contemporary New England. The Centaur (1963) is a subtle, complicated allegorical novel that won Updike the National Book Award in 1964. In addition to his novels, Updike also has written short stories, poems, critical essays, and reviews. Self-Consciousness (1989) is a memoir of his early life, his thoughts on issues such as the Vietnam War, and his attitude toward religion. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1977. He died of lung cancer on January 27, 2009 at the age of 76.

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