On John Updike

On John Updike | by Ian McEwan | The New York Review of Books
先日亡くなった作家 John Updike について Ian McEwan が書いている。
それにしても Ian McEwan の文章はいつ読んでも読みにくい。なんでだろう。ボキャブラリーの問題かな。

 In his autobiography Self-Consciousness, a "big-bellied Lutheran God" within the young John Updike looked on in contempt as he struggled to give up cigarettes. Many years later the older Updike, now giving up on alcohol, coffee, and salt, put into the mouth of that God the words of Frederick the Great excoriating his battle-shy soldiers—"Dogs, would you live forever?" But all the life-enhancing substances were set aside, and writing became Updike's "sole remaining vice. It is an addiction, an illusory release, a presumptuous taming of reality." In the mornings, he could write "breezily" of what he could not "contemplate in the dark without turning in panic to God."



A Soft Spring Night in Shillington

 Had not my twenty-five-year-old daughter under-tipped the airline porter in Boston, our luggage might have shown up on the carrousel in Allentown that April afternoon in 1960, and I would not have spent an evening walking the sidewalks of Shillinglon, Pennsylvania, searching for the meaning of my existence as once I had scanned those same sidewalks for lost pennies.
 The idea of lost luggage has been flavored for me with the terrible, the void, ever since William Maxwell gently said to me on our first acquaintance, in 1954, when I, newly a Harvard graduate and New Yorker contributor, was about to embark for England with my slightly pregnant wife: "People think lost luggage is just like death. It isn't" The words were meant to be comforting, perhaps in response to some nervously expressed wonrry of my own; but they had an opposite, disquieting effect. From early adolescence on, I had longed to get where now, for a brief interview, I was: inside The New Yorker's office. And almost the first words spoken to me, with a certain stoic gaiety that made clear I