The Afterlife and Other Stories

audiobook (Abridged) Unabridged Selections: The Man Who Became a Soprano, The Afterlife, The Other Side of the Street, Farrell's Caddie, Grandparenting

By John Updike

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From one of the most gifted American writers of the twentieth century and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the Rabbit series: twenty-two stories that explore life beyond middle age.

To Carter Billings, the hero of John Updike’s title story, all of England has the glow of an afterlife: “A miraculous lacquer lay upon everything, beading each roadside twig, each reed of thatch in the cottage roofs, each tiny daisy trembling in the grass.”
All twenty-two of the stories in this collection—John Updike’s eleventh—in various ways partake of this glow, as life beyond middle age is explored and found to have its own particular wonders, from omniscient golf caddies to precinct sexual rumors, from the deaths of mothers and brothers-in-law to the births of grandchildren. As death approaches, life takes on, for some of these aging heroes, a translucence, a magical fragility; vivid memory and casual misconception lend the mundane an antic texture, and the backward view, lengthening, acquires a certain grandeur.
Travel, whether to England or Ireland, Italy or the isles of Greece, heightens perceptions and tensions. As is usual in Mr. Updike’s fiction, spouses quarrel, lovers part, children are brave, and houses with their décor have the presence of personalities. His is a world where innocence stubbornly persists, and fresh beginnings almost outnumber losses.
The Afterlife and Other Stories