Literature: JOHN UPDIKE Lyttelton Theatre, London

By Glover, Michael | The Independent (London, England), July 2, 1995 | Go to article overview
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Literature: JOHN UPDIKE Lyttelton Theatre, London


Glover, Michael, The Independent (London, England)


In the audience: a preponderance of fiftyish males wearing seriously casual blue shirts interrupted by powerful vertical white stripes. Not a black face among them. On the stage: an arrangement of restaurant tables with starched white linen tablecloths and a cocktail glass or two, the whole thing looking as expensively harmonious as any stage set at the National Theatre.

And then Richard Eyre scissors on, a big fan. There could scarcely be a bigger - especially when he puffs out his chest. Painfully close to idolatry, he says. And then it's Mr Updike himself - pencil-thin in a well-cut grey suit, hair thick and grey, side parted, raked into submission, with just a single bird's wing to the right to betray the fact that he sleeps - for exactly three quarters of an hour, not a second to left or right.

Not as we'd imagined. Cheery smile. Pleased to come. A preamble about Penguin Books on their 60th anniversary - his presence here is part of that celebration. What else was born in the same year? Alcoholics Anonymous. The Social Security System. The Luftwaffe. He prefers Penguin to any of those institutions.

Then a bit about the early Pelicans he used to buy when he came to England in 1954, a young man in pursuit of omniscience: Ur of the Chaldees, Alchemy, An Introduction to Typography, The Hittites.

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Literature: JOHN UPDIKE Lyttelton Theatre, London
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