Sunday, June 18, 2006
John Updike, Terrorism, and the Future of Books
These days terrorism is a hot topic for novelists. Both Yasmina Khadare and John Updike have come out with new novels that have terrorism as their central themes. While Yasmina Khadare's novel is titled "The Attack," Updike's is simply called "Terrorist."
Here's a review of Updike's novel by NYT's Michiko Kakutani:
"Unfortunately, the would-be terrorist in this novel turns out to be a completely unbelievable individual: more robot than human being and such a cliché that the reader cannot help suspecting that Mr. Updike found the idea of such a person so incomprehensible that he at some point abandoned any earnest attempt to depict his inner life and settled instead for giving us a static, one-dimensional stereotype.
"Terrorist" possesses none of the metaphysical depth of classic novelistic musings on revolutionaries like "The Secret Agent," "The Possessed" or "The Princess Casamassima," and none of the staccato, sociological brilliance of more recent fictional forays into this territory, like Don DeLillo's "Mao II."
However, this is not going to dampen my spirits. I look forward to reading these two novels.
Here is another link (podcast) to Updike's speech on the future of books. Quite interesting!