eAudio - unabridged
Audio (9.70 hours)
Product Number: Z100011107
Released: Jun 27, 2006
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9780739345788
Narrator/s: Edward Herrmann
Publisher: Books on Tape
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John Updike's twenty-first novel, a bildungsroman, follows its hero, Owen Mackenzie, from his birth in the semi-rural Pennsylvania town of Willow to his retirement in the rather geriatric community of Haskells Crossing, Massachusetts. In between these two settlements comes Middle Falls, Connecticut, where Owen, an early computer programmer, founds with a partner, Ed Mervine, the successful firm of E-O Data, which is housed in an old gun factory on the Chunkaunkabaug River. Owen's education (Bildung) is not merely technical but liberal, as the humanity of his three villages, especially that of their female citizens, works to disengage him from his youthful innocence. As a child he early felt an abyss of calamity beneath the sunny surface quotidian, yet also had a dreamlike sense of leading a charmed existence. The women of his life, including his wives, Phyllis and Julia, shed what light they can. At one juncture he reflects, "How lovely she is, naked in the dark! How little men deserve the beauty and mercy of women!" His life as a sexual being merges with the communal shelter of villages: "A village is woven of secrets, of truths better left unstated, of houses with less window than opaque wall." This delightful, witty, passionate novel runs from the Depression era to the early twenty-first century.

Author(s): John Updike
Original Publish Date: Jun 27, 2006

All formats/editions

Author(s): John Updike
Product Number EB00165520
Released: Dec 29, 2013
Business Term: 2 Year
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: #9780307417640

Professional reviews

"In his 21st novel, Updike continues his examination of the post-Pill paradise. The setting is the northeastern United States; the players are educated members of the middle class; the action is centered on our protagonist's extra-marital sex life as he grows old without growing up. Sound familiar? Edward Herrmann is, as always, excellent. His readings are inevitably sensitive to the text, well paced and attention-holding; this time is no exception. In addition, his pleasant, well-rounded tenor sounds intimately of Updike's WASP milieu. He handles female voices as well as he does those of males, and his nuanced reading controls the narrative. The audiobook was produced with no breaks except for chapter numbers, which is somewhat disconcerting. Evidently, for Updike, not even an announcement of the disc number is allowed to intrude. R.E.K. (c) AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine"

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