Last week I read an extract from John Updike’s latest, “Terrorist”.
Its a duff book in many ways, a vehicle for a person to express sustained misanthropy, because the ‘protagonista’ is a resentful Muslim in the heart of America. I detect a certain amout of glee for this opportunity to vent.
I don’t know any of his other work, as it doesn’t really travel, but I’ve heard it said that the old man’s a classic WASP.
Based on the short excerpt that I read, its a collection of stereotypes, and very little effort has been put in to try to understand all the other motivations of this ‘viper in the nest’.
It surprises me most that Updike has written this Now . . . 5-6 years ago [at the time of 9/11] it would have been much more understandable for an American to present this sort of picture, but after half a decade, to only have come up with the same old crap suggests to me that there’s been a traumatic failure of intelligence — the rabbit in the headlights.
The other direction he could have gone . . . is to present two characters; one who lives an insular life, who can’t understand how another person lives and has no interest in how things affect others; and the other who’s been raised to see how every interaction results in a clear winner and clear loser in a global sense.
Updike’s had a neural-collapse in his metaphor department.