In the Beauty of the Lilies

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A.A. Knopf, Jan 1, 1996 - Fiction - 491 pages
5 Reviews
John Updike's seventeenth novel begins in 1910, and traces God's relation to four generations of an American family, beginning with Clarence Wilmot, a Presbyterian clergyman in Paterson, New Jersey. He loses his faith, and becomes an encyclopedia salesman and a motion-picture addict. The remainder of Clarence's family moves to the small town of Basingstoke, Delaware, where his cautious son, Teddy, becomes a mailman. Faithless himself, Teddy marries a good Methodist girl and begets Esther, whose prayers are always answered; she becomes an object of worship, a twentieth-century goddess. Her neglected son, Clark, makes his way back to the fiery fundamentals of Protestant piety. The novel ends in 1990, in Lower Branch, Colorado, and on television. Taking its title from the "Battle-Hymn of the Republic, " In the Beauty of the Lilies spins one saga, one wandering tapestry thread, of the American Century.

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IN THE BEAUTY OF THE LILIES

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Updike's bold attempt at the generational saga—the first such novel of his long career—falls somewhere between George Eliot and John O'Hara, and doesn't scruple to provide a few of the simpler ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - yourotherleft - LibraryThing

In the Beauty of the Lilies is Updike's treatise on religion and American culture masked by the saga of several generations of the Wilmot family and wrapped up in the growing movie industry. The book ... Read full review

Contents

Clarence
3
Teddy
109
Essie Alma
228
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, worked for a few years on the staff of The New Yorker, and since 1957 has lived in Massachusetts. He is the father of four children and the author of some forty books, including collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Rabbit at Rest was recently awarded the Howells Medal, by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, for the most distinguished work of American fiction of the last five years.

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