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Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 919 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition (September 12, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394531795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394531793
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.2 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #888,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker, and since 1957 lived in Massachusetts. He was the father of four children and the author of more than fifty books, including collections of short stories, poems, essays, and criticism. His novels won the Pulitzer Prize (twice), the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal. A previous collection of essays, Hugging the Shore, received the 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. John Updike died on January 27, 2009, at the age of 76.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
From a brilliant essay on Melville to great book reviews to presenting the works of other writers (such as Yevtushenko), this volume is entertaining, enlightening, and wonderful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Updike 's great fictional output is accompanied by hundreds of occasional pieces he has written through the years. He defines the difference between the two kinds this way. "Writing criticism is to writing fiction and poetry as hugging the shore is to sailing in the open sea.''

So for him the non- fictional pieces are the less -adventurous ones, the ones in which one must stay closer to the world of fact and observation.

Nonetheless in these pieces he almost invariably brings his great intelligence and aesthetic sense into play in addressing a tremendously wide variety of subjects.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alex D. Groce on May 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've always felt that Updike is better as a critic and essayist than as a fiction writer; not that he isn't superb at both, but the fiction is (sometimes) too smooth, paradoxically too well-written. Updike's striking insights (Doris Day as an American Pelagian) and widely ranging topics make this collection worth reading again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Damian Kelleher on November 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
In John Updike's collection of essays and criticism, Hugging the Shore, it takes the author until page six to delve into the varied wonders of the female sex organ. I am unsure whether this is a record for Updike, but knowing his work as I do, I suggest not. Still, sex, wit, clarity, insight, cleverness and a tendency towards dazzling prose tell us all - Here is John Updike.

The collection begins, to my mind, very weakly indeed. The first seventy pages are scattered pieces of writing that are neither essay nor story, review nor criticism. One twenty page section is simply interviews, with such non-entities as the Golf Course Owner and the Undertaker. A brief piece on book envelopes taking over the world is bizarre, and one wonders whether the rest of the collection will come across as the droppings of a writer accustomed to seeing his work in print.

Happily, this is not the case. Updike's reviews, while predominantly of Americans and absolutely focused on an American, Protestant outlook, are conversational and enjoyable, while also possessing great intelligence and creativity. He is unafraid to sprinkle his writing with metaphors and smilies and other tricks of the author's trade, allowing his reviews the sprightliness of prose and side-stepping the possibility of churning out tired, staid non-fiction. On Charles Citrine, the hero of Saul Bellow's novel Humboldt's Gift, '...the sleep of his soul, as he thinks of it, is disturbed but not shattered. He rolls over, amid the rumpled sheets and untied threads of the plot.' This is wonderful writing, imagery which could easily find itself nestled within the cosy bosom of an Updike short story.
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