Monday, July 24, 2006

Updike's Terrorist

Mark Steyn thinks John Updike’s new novel is less than impressive:

That said, Ahmad is a marvel of three-dimensional realization next to the novel's Jews and Irish (pale green eyes, freckles, red hair, pale skin) and blacks (with names like Tylenol Jones), all tied together neatly and geometrically: the Jewish guidance counsellor's lard-butt wife's sister is a secretary at the Department of Homeland Security who blabs incessantly. And Updike gets Ahmad a gig delivering furniture solely for the purpose of being able to conceal the dough for the terrorist operation inside an ottoman. An Ottoman! Geddit? You can't help feeling that real cells would find less clunky conveyances for cash disbursement and, if they were forced into using furniture, would be more likely to deploy an EZ Boy recliner. But an ottoman is the kind of pointedly elegant visual image you need a big-time novelist for.

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