(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
Since tales of his exploits began appearing in The New Yorker more than thirty years ago, Henry Bech, John Updike's playfully irreverent alter-ego, has charmed readers with his aesthetic dithering and his seemingly inexhaustible libido. The Bech stories—collected in one volume for the first time, and featuring a final, series-capping story, "His Oeuvre"—cast an affectionate eye on the famously unproductive Jewish-American writer, offering up a stream of wit, whimsy, and lyric pungency unmatched in American letters.
From his birth in 1923 to his belated paternity and public apotheosis as a spry septuagenarian in 1999, Bech plugs away, globetrotting in the company of foreign dignitaries one day and schlepping in tattered tweeds on the college lecture circuit the next. By turns cynical and naïve, wry and avuncular, and always amorous, he is Updike’s most endearing confection—a Lothario, a curmudgeon, and a winsome literary icon all in one. A perfect forum for Updike's limber prose, The Complete Henry Bech is an arch portrait of the literary life in America from an incomparable American writer.
Never as big as Rabbit, but a genial antihero in his own right, Henry Bech is John Updike's fictional alter ego, a Jewish writer with a weakness for women and literary awards. Now, three bestselling collections of Bech stories are gathered in one volume, under the title The Complete Henry Bech. Book-ended with a helpful introduction by Malcolm Bradbury and a new story, "His Oeuvre," the hefty Everyman's Library compendium is a monument to Updike's lighter moments. ( Mar. 27) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.