Trust Me

Overview

The theme of trust, betrayed or fulfilled, runs through this collection of short stories: Parents lead children into peril, husbands abandon wives, wives manipulate husbands, and time undermines all. Love pangs, a favorite subject of the author, take on a new urgency as earthquakes, illnesses, lost wallets, and deaths of distant friends besiege his aging heroes and heroines. One man loves his wife’s twin, and several men love the imagined bliss of their pasts; one woman takes an impotent lover, and another must ...

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Trust Me: Short Stories

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Overview

The theme of trust, betrayed or fulfilled, runs through this collection of short stories: Parents lead children into peril, husbands abandon wives, wives manipulate husbands, and time undermines all. Love pangs, a favorite subject of the author, take on a new urgency as earthquakes, illnesses, lost wallets, and deaths of distant friends besiege his aging heroes and heroines. One man loves his wife’s twin, and several men love the imagined bliss of their pasts; one woman takes an impotent lover, and another must administer her father’s death. Bourgeois comforts and youthful convictions are tenderly seen as certain to erode: “Man,” as one of these stories concludes, “was not meant to abide in paradise.”

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The plainest of objects and events bloom in these stories as if they had at last found their proper climate. . . . I find myself searching for language to describe the very palpable pleasure that comes with experiencing in a writer authority and also humor and elegance and honesty and generosity of spirit.”—Marilynne Robinson, The New York Times Book Review
 
“It is in his short stories that we find Updike’s most assured work. . . . And almost without fail they give pleasure, a quality not to be taken lightly.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
“Dazzling . . . We certainly can trust him—we are in very good hands.”—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As the chronicler of a certain kind of upper middle-class, sophisticated culture, Updike has few peers. The 22 stories in his new collection cover familiar ground, but always with a resonance and relevance that deliver fresh shocks of recognition. In Updike's world, fractured marriages are a condition of modern life. Ex-mates, new mates or lovers multiply in complex arrangements, ``victims of middle aged recklessness.'' Adultery is not defended or explained; it is inevitable and routine. The children of these many-bedded partners pay the price for their parents' un- and re-coupling. A tone of nostalgia, loss and pain is pervasive; retribution is sure to be exacted. As Updike ages, so do some of his characters, men who in their 50s or 60s, who, like the protagonists of The Wallet and Death of Distant Friends contemplate ``the premonition of extinction.'' In all of the narratives, Updike's inspired gift for imagery is employed to stunning effect. One responds to these stories with a visceral feeling of empathy, of having been exposed to the essence of life seen through a master's eye. 50.000 first printing; Literary Guild dual main selection. May
Library Journal
A few stories here come from magazines not found in most public libraries. Most treat familiar Updike themes marriage, adultery, and divorce; the onset of middle age or old age; sickness and death with familiar Updike techniques role reversal, mirror scenes and characters, extended similes, traditional symbolism. Also familiar is the mostly high quality, even of newer material, such as an unobtrusive experiment in first-person plural narration in ``Leaf Season,'' the relation between sex and sleep explored more thoroughly in ``Pygmalion'' than in ``Killing'' or ``Slippage'', and the use of the ``f''-word in a New Yorker ! story, ``Unstuck.'' The two failures, ``Still Some Use'' and ``Poker Night,'' are done in by bathetic imagery. More disturbing is a tendency to draw the moral, as if Updike shared with the artist of ``Learn a Trade'' a lack of trust in his own work. Let's hope not. Literary Guild dual main selection. Hugh M. Crane, Cambridge P.L., Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449912171
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 435,829
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.21 (h) x 0.81 (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

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