From Library Journal
Updike again, understandably autumnal in his 18th novel and 48th book. It's 2020, and war with China has left the United States in a shambles. As cheerfully retired investment counselor Ben Turnbull gets caught up in the "many-universes" theory resulting from the indeterminacy of quantum mechanics, he finds his identity racing back and forth in time.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This is Updike's millennium novel. Who better than he--vastly intelligent observer of morals and mores over the past half-century--to wrap up fin de siecle life in one, big, magnificent novel that both concludes and foresees? But what a disappointment! It's set in the future--2020, to be exact. What is the point of setting the story ahead in time while at the same time
giving next to no feel that things are different? A war is supposed to have happened between the U.S. and China, but it seems to have had as little effect on daily life as some small skirmish in Somalia. Ben Turnbull narrates a year in his life; he's in his late sixties, a semiretired investor, a lover of science. He and his wife have arguments over a deer who is nibbling her lawn and garden away; Ben has thoughts about science, which he yammers on and on about to the absolute distraction of the follower of this curious narrative. Ben thinks he has shot his wife instead of the deer, and the deer turns into a young woman, with whom he has an affair, but, clank, reality sets in again, and his wife is back. Huh? Even Updike's gorgeous style cannot jump-start this plot; it's gone lame at the starting gate. Still, his legion of fans will want to decide for themselves. Brad Hooper