Beyond the Book: Background information when reading My Father's Tears

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My Father's Tears

by John Updike

My Father's Tears
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2009, 304 pages
    May 2010, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Natasha Vargas-Cooper

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Beyond the Book

The Anti-Updikeans

"I'd like to offer assurances that your reviewer is not one of these spleen-venting, spittle-spattering Updike-haters one encounters among literary readers under 40. The fact is that I am probably classifiable as one of very few actual sub-40 Updike fans."

This quote comes from an essay by David Foster Wallace, the upstart author of the late 90's, published in The New York Observer in 1997. Though Wallace's essay on Updike is not "spleen-venting" it is absolutely scalding and is the sacred document of the Anti-Updike faction on college campuses. It's considered the rallying cry that spurred the literary backlash against The Great White Male. According to Wallace, Updike was the chronicler and the voice of "the most self-absorbed generation since Louis XIV."

Wallace argued that Updike, like Phillip Roth, Norman Mailer, and Fredrick Exley, created a legacy of diminution and joyless self-indulgence. The authors were radically self-absorbed and totally ...

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