I was sad to read in the paper yesterday that John Updike died on Tuesday. Just a few weeks ago I was thinking how he was immortal, publishing yet another book, a sequel to the Witches of Eastwick. I thought he had another ten or twenty years with many more novels to come; I didn’t know he was battling for his life.
He was my second favourite writer for a time. I came to grow a little disenchanted with him, but still rated him very highly. I have the illusion of being friends with him, or at least him being a kindly risque uncle I’ve had long conversations with.
I’ve been thinking of his line, ‘After all, you survive every moment except your last,’ as a comfort for my fear of death. But that was when he had survived it all too.
Now there’s no chance of a sixth Rabbit book. It would have been set in 2009, if he had continued the trend. I know it seemed unlikely, given he killed off Rabbit two books ago, but I always thought my hopes would come true and I would have another slice of the Angstrom world.
I will have to write a longer piece about his work and my interactions with it, but I’m at an internet cafe in Richmond and I’ve got to go.