Couples

Couples

John Updike / May 27, 2019

Couples Couples is the book that has been assailed for its complete frankness praised as an artful seductive savagely graphic portrait of love marriage adultery in America But be it damned or hailed Coupl

  • Title: Couples
  • Author: John Updike
  • ISBN: 9780449911907
  • Page: 147
  • Format: Paperback
  • Couples is the book that has been assailed for its complete frankness praised as an artful, seductive, savagely graphic portrait of love, marriage adultery in America But be it damned or hailed, Couples drew back the curtain forever on sex in suburbia in the late 20th century A classic, it s one of those books that will be read remembered for a long timCouples is the book that has been assailed for its complete frankness praised as an artful, seductive, savagely graphic portrait of love, marriage adultery in America But be it damned or hailed, Couples drew back the curtain forever on sex in suburbia in the late 20th century A classic, it s one of those books that will be read remembered for a long time to come.

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      Published :2018-010-25T08:06:25+00:00

    About "John Updike"

      • John Updike

        John Hoyer Updike was an American writer Updike s most famous work is his Rabbit series Rabbit, Run Rabbit Redux Rabbit Is Rich Rabbit At Rest and Rabbit Remembered Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest both won Pulitzer Prizes for Updike Describing his subject as the American small town, Protestant middle class, Updike is well known for his careful craftsmanship and prolific writing, having published 22 novels and than a dozen short story collections as well as poetry, literary criticism and children s books Hundreds of his stories, reviews, and poems have appeared in The New Yorker since the 1950s His works often explore sex, faith, and death, and their inter relationships.He died of lung cancer at age 76.


    582 Comments

    1. What is it that Jack says to Ennis in Brokeback Mountain? “I wish I knew how to quit you?” I think that's it, and that's exactly what I want to say to John Updike. . . I wish I knew how to quit you.I wish I knew how to quit you, John, quit this relationship I've gotten myself into with you. There are no cliffhangers here, no outbursts of laughter or joy, just a whole lot of painful examinations of life and much unwanted talk of our impending deaths.So, why do I stay? Is it the sex?Mmmm, yes, [...]


    2. I’m honestly a bit surprised that I picked this up. To my prejudices it was the jejune, possibly self-caricatural big bestseller, the book whose fame caused every obituary writer to narrowly cast Updike as a chronicler of upper-middle class New England marriages (Rabbit is a Pennsylvanian petit-bourgeois, as it happens). I had heard plenty of bad reports—-from personal friends, from distantly eminent judges (Martin Amis called it a “false summit” of the Updike oeuvre). But I was at a lib [...]


    3. What's wonderful and aggravating about Updike all in one book. We see the same recycled themes here (parts feel very much like Marry Me and the Rabbit series, among others), which isn't a bad thing. Updike loves to focus on adultery, and he does so as well as anyone I know. Some great characters here. Love the Piet storyline and all the characters involved in it. Also love the side-story about the swinging couple; really interesting stuff there that, unfortunately, he never really comes back to. [...]


    4. Nobody writes about infidelity quite as good as Updike. Well, Roth sometimes gets close, but particularly in Couples, the disintegration of the various couples in the small New England town is described with painful realism by John Updike. Each character is fully developed and is sometimes endearing, sometimes enraging but always compelling. After the Rabbit series, this was my favorite Updike book.


    5. one reads a lot of this about updike: “it’s really well written, but…”, “the prose soars, but…”, “the writing was great, but…”you don’t see a lot of this regarding vincent van gogh: “it’s really well painted, but…”, “the brush strokes are nice but… isn’t he just painting a flower? or some wheat? or a dirty bar?” an imperfect analogy, but close enough. updike digests reality and spits it out with such force and kaleidoscopic beauty i’d compare his descripti [...]


    6. Maybe I'm an idealist when it comes to matter of the heart, romantic idiom, love and marriage, so it is hard for me to grasp the reality that some people actually live(d) as described in this book. But with an entire novel (Couples) and a good part of at least two of the Rabbit books dedicated to the scenario of partner "swapping" and "swinging," and other forms of adultery (a.k.a. cheating), I am pushed to accept that not only does this behavior exist, but that author John Updike actually did i [...]


    7. (In November 2015, my rare-book service sold a first edition, first printing of John Updike's Couples through our eBay account [ebay/usr/cclapcenter]. Below is the write-up I did for its listing.)Like so many of the great authors of the Postmodernist era, John Updike by the late 1960s had already established himself through the usual channels of the Mid-Century Modernist age before -- he had been a staff writer for The New Yorker, where he had come directly after his stint at the Harvard Lampoon [...]


    8. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” – Exodus 20:14. But days in a small town are empty and everyone needs something to fill the hole in one’s day to day living. So adultery becomes practically the only entertainment and the transgression of this commandment is no longer sin but bliss…“She seemed to float on her bed at a level of bliss little altered by his coming and going and thus worked upon him a challenge; at last she confessed he was hurting her and curled one finger around the bac [...]


    9. This was my first read of John Updike. Everyone who heard that I was reading it said that they'd read it when they were a teenager, and all they remembered was how 'saucy' it was. And it is, there's quite a bit of literary sex, and philandering. I did really enjoy the writing, Updike's amazing use of language to describe places and people, but it's also a very dense book, sometimes so heavy going, so full to the brim with language, that I wanted to get to the end, and now I feel the need for som [...]


    10. This book reminded me of my mother; one she may have read with pink edged pages, copyright 1968, the price on the cover $1.25 (not even an ISBN number). I picked up this one for its reputation for sex - and I was not disappointed.But that's not why I gave it five stars. John Updike is a dazzling wordsmith. Everything from the imagery to the depth of his characters to the story line was top notch. I'd never read such a vivid representation of an asshole as I have with Piet Hanema. Of course, it w [...]


    11. In another review of another book Updike's work was described as representing the post-war 20th century experience. Specifically, the WASP experience with the occasional catholic and jew thrown in the mix. Not being American and having the 21st century, this is threatening his work with obsolescence. Luckily, some of this experience is universally human and lasting, making Couples a worthwile read today.It's about ten couples living in imaginary Tarbox, a small former fishermen's town about an h [...]


    12. I came to this book purposefully, wanting to engage in mental conversation about couples in the suburbs of New England. I have very recently been reading other (similar) authors on the same subject: Fitzgerald (Tender is the Night, anyone?) Cheever, Yates (Revolutionary Road is a cousin, theme-wise). I’m not one to call these books “outdated” as some people have, as I usually find that 90% is universal and familiar in social behavior today. Couples, however, did feel dated because of the f [...]


    13. I read this book solely because it was once bestowed what I think is the most unforgettable blurb of all time: the author's wife once described it as "wading through pubic hair." Obviously, it was only a matter of time before I read Couples. Don't be like me. Don't read Couples.Ok, now some disclaimers! This is the only Updike I've ever read (except for "Fellatio", surely The Worst Poem Ever Written, and I'm really more embarrassed for him than angry at him for writing it), so I've no comparison [...]


    14. I haven't read anything by John Updike for years so I picked up "Couples" at the library just so I could switch over to a prominent American writer for a change of pace. One of his most read books, "Couples" deals with the "new morality" that took hold amongst the young surburbanite married couples starting in the early 60's. Updike portrays this suburban culture in graphic, explicit terms, painting a picture of almost total inmorality amoung the couples of the town of "Tarbox". Even in 2011 ter [...]


    15. 60's wife swapping in New England - hence rather confusing at first re who is married to who, who is having an affair with who, who children belong to etc. Wonderfully poignant and evocative metaphors and descriptive passages; other bits are deliberately disjointed, more like stream-of-consciousness.



    16. "Двойки" напомня много на написаната 11 години по-късно "Ожени се за мен". Няколкото семейства са разширена версия на нейните две двойки. Образуват затворен кръг в идилично и елегантно предградие на Бостън - едно голямо семейство, което прави буквално всичко заедно, тайно или [...]


    17. I don't think I can be disappointed with Updike. I know I'm wrong. I'll read a stinker soon enough (maybe his post-apocalyptic or apocalyptic or whatever it is book?), but in the mean time, he has officially become my favorite writer (for a while, of his class). His narration is so spotless, and always integrated seamlessly with his gorgeous descriptions and probably unintentionally hilarious dialogue. He's just such a cynical old dad, I love it. This book is ridiculous. Summarize it to friends, [...]


    18. I had to quit 110 pages in. The prose was overwritten and the story was boring. Perhaps it was scandalous at the time of publication, but it was not for me. I couldn't get into the author's style of writing--perhaps others will enjoy it, but it was not for me.


    19. Read this as assigned in a course titled "developmental psychology" as the study of the adult self. A good story that gave a lesson on empathy.


    20. Sixties somethingsThe early nineteen sixties beckoned on a decade of change. Not only did the world shake off most of the remnants of its most recent global war, not only did Europe’s defeated former colonial powers almost complete their American-dictated divestment of their assets, not only did capitalism institutionalise the shape of globalised future, but also, apparently, married people discovered sex. But not, for the purposes of Couples by John Updike, with their legal partners…John Up [...]


    21. This is certainly the most cynical novel about marriage I have ever read, although it is important to place it in its day. (It was published in 1968 but the story takes place in 1963.) The couples of the title are all relatively young, some starting to raise families, moneyed and adrift in a bucolic suburbia outside of Boston. Their town has puritanical street names like Divinity, Hope and Charity. Sexual liberation has arrived, and few among this bunch can resist its allure. Soon the mate-swapp [...]


    22. Rereading this book proved a doubly nostalgic experience. I first read Couples in 1990, when it was the first novel by Updike I approached; I enjoyed it then, especially for the evocation of my old home area and the shadows that so many people I knew growing up cast on the characters Updike creates (my father sold Updike his first house in Ipswich, my aunt was the organist at the church on the hill that is struck by lightening – in realty and in the novel). rereading it with the benefit of a c [...]


    23. This book is thoroughly depressing. Now I've just recently finished A Farewell to Arms and that book was also thoroughly depressing but Couples is an entirely different species of depressing in that you can't believe how depraved these people are. As someone who is constantly called a hopeless romantic, it is shocking to see some of the things these married couples will do (or perhaps it is a sad wake up call?). Of course it goes without saying that John Updike once again proves himself as a gif [...]


    24. (writen 6-04)This was the closest thing to a romance novel I have probably ever read, although I think it has literary value. I heard that when it came out it had some of the raciest scenes - I guess the public was ready though because it was a best-seller. Oh, the couples of Tarbox, with its streets ironically named Charity and Purity and Chastity, with the big church on the hill. Piet sure is a ladies' man, a trait which causes his downfall in the end. Is happiness worth two broken families? M [...]


    25. I picked this book up on a whim at the library. I have no previous John Updike experience, so less than little, that until halfway through this novel-I thought John Updike and John Irving were one in the same. Basically this novel is about a bunch of swinging couples in Tarbox, a community near Boston-I think. Angela and Peit Hanema are the focushe is unfaithful, and she is cold. They are not part of the swinging couples in their community, but they are part of their circle. There are a couple o [...]


    26. What I learned from this bookWith a name like "Foxy," it is very likely you will have an affair with the earthy married contractor who's remodeling your house. If your husband is a super-brainy scientist exploring the mysteries of life at the cellular level, it is very likely he will neglect your emotional and sexual needs, and deny you a child for years until your marriage is almost curdled.If you finally do get pregnant, your brainy husband will be turned off but the earthy married contractor [...]


    27. I gave this book 2 stars, because like the other Updike I've read (Rabbit, Run), there is no denying that Couples is well-written. However, also like Rabbit, Run, I just didn't like it. I don't enjoy Updike's characters - I find them all completely unsympathetic. This novel seems to be about the danger of prescriptive existence in an unforgiving, unimaginative suburban town, where several (how many were there in the end, 8? 10?) couples in the early years of marriage and children, break the mono [...]


    28. Interesting to say the least. Long haul that it was with it's sometimes overdetailed prose I love the visuals Updike achieves in this story. The comparisons between parts of womens bodies and whatever variety of things he could think of to describe them was erotic and shows a man who loves women and aknowledges that women can and do love sex as mutually as men. Shows us that perhaps not prude but unsatisfied is more often the cause of a disinterested wife. I must admit I started looking at my ne [...]


    29. I barely wanted to admit I read this crazy, weird, swingers' story, so I gave it 3 stars and put it away. In fact, I completely forgot I read it at all. So, missing Updike, I went back and read it again, and gave it another star. This time, the rampant adultery, while central to the novel, actually took a back seat to other things, and as with all Updike books, the (crazy-ass) characters began to take shape and become familiar, their flaws giving way to delicate virtues, until I liked most of th [...]


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