Centaur

( 7 )

Overview

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD AND THE PRIX DU MEILLEUR LIVRE ÉTRANGER
 
The Centaur is a modern retelling of the legend of Chiron, the noblest and wisest of the centaurs, who, painfully wounded yet unable to die, gave up his immortality on behalf of Prometheus. In the retelling, Olympus becomes small-town Olinger High School; Chiron is George Caldwell, a science teacher there; and Prometheus is Caldwell’s fifteen-year-old son, Peter. ...
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The Centaur: A Novel

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Overview

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD AND THE PRIX DU MEILLEUR LIVRE ÉTRANGER
 
The Centaur is a modern retelling of the legend of Chiron, the noblest and wisest of the centaurs, who, painfully wounded yet unable to die, gave up his immortality on behalf of Prometheus. In the retelling, Olympus becomes small-town Olinger High School; Chiron is George Caldwell, a science teacher there; and Prometheus is Caldwell’s fifteen-year-old son, Peter. Brilliantly conflating the author’s remembered past with tales from Greek mythology, John Updike translates Chiron’s agonized search for relief into the incidents and accidents of three winter days spent in rural Pennsylvania in 1947. The result, said the judges of the National Book Award, is “a courageous and brilliant account of a conflict in gifts between an inarticulate American father and his highly articulate son.”
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A triumph of love and art.”—The Washington Post
 
“A brilliant achievement . . . No one should need to be told that Updike has a mastery of language matched in our time only by the finest poets.”—Saturday Review
 
“Unsurpassed . . . Natural, pertinent, fresh, subtle, and superbly written.”—Newsweek
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449912164
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 303,441
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

John Updike was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania, in 1932. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954 and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal. In 2007 he received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. John Updike died in January 2009.

Biography

With an uncommonly varied oeuvre that includes poetry, criticism, essays, short stories, and novels, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner John Updike helped to change the face of late-20th-century American literature.

Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Updike graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1954. Following a year of study in England, he joined the staff of The New Yorker, establishing a relationship with the magazine that continued until his death in January, 2009. For more than 50 years, he lived in two small towns in Massachusetts that inspired the settings for several of his stories.

In 1958, Updike's first collection of poetry was published. A year later, he made his fiction debut with The Poorhouse Fair. But it was his second novel, 1960's Rabbit, Run, that forged his reputation and introduced one of the most memorable characters in American fiction. Former small-town basketball star Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom struck a responsive chord with readers and critics alike and catapulted Updike into the literary stratosphere.

Updike would revisit Angstrom in 1971, 1981, and 1990, chronicling his hapless protagonist's jittery journey into undistinguished middle age in three melancholy bestsellers: Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, and Rabbit at Rest. A concluding novella, "Rabbit Remembered," appeared in the 2001 story collection Licks of Love.

Although autobiographical elements appear in the Rabbit books, Updike's true literary alter ego was not Harry Angstrom but Harry Bech, a famously unproductive Jewish-American writer who starred in his own story cycle. In between -- indeed, far beyond -- his successful series, Updike went on to produce an astonishingly diverse string of novels. In addition, his criticism and short fiction became popular staples of distinguished literary publications.

Good To Know

Updike first became entranced by reading when he was a young boy growing up on an isolated farm in Pennsylvania. Afflicted with psoriasis and a stammer, he escaped his self-consciousness by immersing himself in drawing, writing, and reading.

An accomplished artist, Updike accepted a one-year fellowship to study painting at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts at Oxford University. He decided to attend Harvard University because he was a big fan of the school's humor magazine, The Harvard Lampoon.

One of the most respected authors of the 20th century, Updike won every major literary prize in America, including the Guggenheim Fellow, the Rosenthal Award, the National Book Award in Fiction, the O. Henry Prize, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Union League Club Abraham Lincoln Award, the National Arts Club Medal of Honor, and the National Medal of the Arts.

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Hoyer Updike (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 18, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Shillington, Pennsylvania
    1. Date of Death:
      January 27, 2009
    2. Place of Death:
      Beverly Farms, MA

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2006

    A Worthwhile Read

    Although I have never been a large fan of Updike, I read this novel after a friend recommended it to me, and I was pleasantly surprised. The storyline is nothing to be proud of, as nothing exciting literally happens, but it was a pleasue to read along as the relationship between Father and Son grew and developed throughout the three days of the book. Using a few allusions to Greek mythology, and submersing the reader in complete myth once near the beginning of the novel, Updike was able to stress the subtle changes in the character's lives.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Dl vgjmv .io gj gjfgtoibmbmtutivbvnb . ? ?fj


    Tury
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    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2013

    Story was okay. Mythological angle was boring. Imagery awful.

    Story was okay. Mythological angle was boring. Imagery awful.


    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2002

    Freakin' Weird

    This book, while interesting, can sometimes fly off track back into ancient Greece, leaving the current story hanging. Sometimes confusing, always interesting, this book is a good read, but I would not suggest it if you want some relaxing novel. It is inwoven with Greek myths and characters, so if you don't understand Greek myths, you probably won't understand this book as well as you could. Still be good though, I think. I understand Greek myth. Try it, you may like it!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2008

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