How lucky can an editor be? When legendary New Yorker
editor William Shawn wanted a writer to review a book on golf, he could turn to novelist John Updike. Updike, a devoted golfer, was delighted to take on the assignment. That review of Michael Murphy's Golf In the Kingdom
is contained -- along with essays from Golf Digest
, The New York Times Book Review
and other publications -- in Golf Dreams
. Rounding out the collection of 30 pieces are excerpts from Updike's classic fiction, including Three Rounds With Rabbit Angstrom
From Publishers Weekly
In his preface to this volume of essays and short fiction, longtime golfer Updike speculates that his addiction to the sport has "stolen my life away." But this collection of pieces written between 1959 and 1995 illustrates that, even if his swing has become less supple, his ruminations on the game retain their vitality. As he addresses the frustrations, humiliations and rare "soaring grandeur" of the game, Updike's dry wit and ironic insight enliven such entries as a spoof on instruction books and an evaluation of viewing golf on TV. Essays range in theme from the specific ("The Big Bad Boom") to the ethical (the moral imperatives of "The Gimme Game") to the philosophical: "Many men are more faithful to their golf partners than to their wives." Generally, those pieces written originally for sports magazines tend to contain more technical detail, while the three short stories and selections from three of the Rabbit novels illuminate how a day on the links can reveal character and the hand of destiny. If there is a general theme, it is that golf can be both a mystical experience and infernal torture, what Updike calls "the bliss and aggravation of the sport." Diehard aficionados will find all of this collection entertaining and meaningful; and even duffers will appreciate Updike's lucid prose and command of metaphor. Christmas sales seem assured here, with a resurgence for Father's Day next year. 75,000 first printing; simultaneous Random House audio.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.