The Early Stories, 1953-1975 (2003) At 838 pages, John Updike's comprehensive collection The Early Stories, 1953-1975 is initially intimidating -- but ultimately satisfying. The oldest story is 1953's "Ace in… 2003-10-21 Fiction Knopf
Book Review

The Early Stories, 1953-1975 (2003)

The Early Stories: 1953-1975 | 'EARLY' RISER A new Updike collection plumbs the writer's impressive first works
'EARLY' RISER A new Updike collection plumbs the writer's impressive first works

Details Release Date: Oct 21, 2003; Writer: John Updike; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Knopf

At 838 pages, John Updike's comprehensive collection The Early Stories, 1953-1975 is initially intimidating -- but ultimately satisfying. The oldest story is 1953's ''Ace in the Hole,'' composed while he was a Harvard senior. An unsentimental look at a young couple's struggle with domestic and career disillusionment, ''Ace'' demonstrates Updike's masterful ability to find beauty in the mundane and foreshadows the emotional complexity of his later novels. It's also good to see Updike's Olinger stories, 11 thoughtful coming-of-age tales based on his Depression-era upbringing in rural Pennsylvania, back in print. Other gems include the wistful ''When Everyone Was Pregnant'' and ''Eros Rampant'' -- both make thumbing through this hefty compilation worth the effort.

Originally posted Nov 05, 2003 Published in issue #736 Nov 07, 2003 Order article reprints