The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

John Updike Dead at 76

John Updike, the kind of all-consuming literary polymath for whom the term Man of Letters seems to have been devised, has passed from this mortal sphere today, a victim of lung cancer at the age of 76.

Here is the usual passel of Obits:

The Boston Globe

The Washington Post

The Telegraph

The Miami Herald


daggy said...

I saw him two months ago, when he appeared at UCLA's Royce Hall to promote "The Widows of Eastwick." He talked of how lucky he'd always been about his health, although, as I now recall, he added, sotto voce, "until recently" and then quickly changed the subject. But he certainly seemed robust at the time. He must have fallen fast.

I can't think of another modern writer whose words affected me as deeply and whose books I've read more often than any other. A huge loss.

Vanwall said...

You've surely won the premier edition of the The John Updike Single Sentence Fiction Contest; that said, a giant has shuffled off this mortal coil, and mere lit'rary critics can only leave their puny adieus as pale whinings into the great void left by his passing. So long, pal, and write when you find work. We know you will.

Vanwall said...

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? -over. Was it something I said?

Tom Sutpen said...

Let it not be said that this blog fails to serve the wishes of its readers.

Vanwall said...

I loved that little piece you wrote! You, sir, are no ordinary lit'rary critic, and thus I demand its return!

Kreisler said...

Only writer that could redescribe anal intercourse as a journey to the numinous, unknown centre of the earth (Couples I think)