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Golf Dreams
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About the Author

John Updike was born in 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He is the author of over fifty books, including The Poorhouse Fair; the Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest); Marry Me; The Witches of Eastwick, which was made into a major feature film; Memories of the Ford Administration; Brazil; In the Beauty of the Lilies; Toward the End of Time; Gertrude and Claudius; and Seek My Face. He has written a number of collections of short stories, including The Afterlife and Other Stories and Licks of Love, which includes a final Rabbit story, Rabbit Remembered. His essays and criticism first appeared in publications such as the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, and are now collected into numerous volumes. Collected Poems 1953-1993 brings together almost all of his verse, and a new edition of his Selected Poems is forthcoming from Hamish Hamilton. His novels, stories, and non-fiction collections have won have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award and the Howells Medal. Updike graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year at Oxford's Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of staff at the New Yorker, and he lived in Massachusetts from 1957 until his death in January 2009.

Reviews

Unsuccessful golfers take heart: You have a friend in acclaimed author Updike. No secrets of grip, stance, or technique are revealed here, just the philosophic solace that comes from years of imperfection. Updike explains why golf partners are more loyal than spouses, and why a bad day of golf is usually superior to a good day at anything else. He dissects the social dynamics of golf foursomes with unrelenting wit, and he gently chronicles the game's changes over the last four decades. As a narrator, he is playful and patient and more than equal to the challenges of his lyrical prose. The selections in this work were gathered from his many writings on golf. Recommended for sports as well as literary collections.‘Ray Vignovich, West Des Moines P.L., Ia.

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. (Sept.)

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