John Updike doesn’t exactly heart the Internet


By Carmen Comment

First proof of such? John Updike‘s speech at BEA (now available in podcast format) where he went off, essentially, on the paradigm shift in publishing towards more technologically-based means. Next up is today’s profile by Chip McGrath (who, for a former NYTBR editor, sure seems to be popping up a lot of late) where Updike grudgingly admits to going online to research his new novel TERRORIST, although he was heartened to find out that “the Internet doesn’t like you to learn too much about explosives.”

More to the point, the new novel sort of uses the thriller structure, a form Updike has never tried before. And McGrath seems to be relieved that no matter what the “classic Updikean traits” are still in evidence, which seems kind of condescending. Fortunately, when Updike talks about what’s next for him, he acknowledges the difficulty of the mystery/thriller format. “I try to see the next book in my mind, and I see a slightly plump book with a lot of people in it, like ‘Gosford Park.’ But it’s not a murder mystery because I’m not clever enough to write one of those.”