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Description - Seek My Face by John Updike

On a spring day in Vermont, seventy-nine-year-old painter Hope Chafetz tells the story of her life to Kathryn, a young interviewer from New York. Questions send Hope back to her youth, to the heady postwar days of American art and her relationships with the artists who defined their times. As the day wears on, Kathryn and Hope - interviewer and interviewee - try to understand one another across the gulf of age, experience and time that lies between them. And subtly, as each comes to know the other, their relationship changes ...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780141011165
ISBN-10: 0141011165
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 19mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 29-Jan-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Seek My Face by John Updike

UK Kirkus Review » In every way this is a beautiful book. There are no chapters to mark a change of topic or a change of pace because, with its own natural rhythm, the prose flows from the first page to the last. A journalist asks permission to interview Hope Chafetz, a painter. Hope agrees to answer her questions and the two of them, the glossy young New York woman and the old lady with her aching arthritic joints, spend the day together in Hope's country home in Vermont, the Sony tape recorder their only witness. Kathryn asks about Hope's children and her three husbands, Zack McCoy and Guy Holloway, both famous artists, and Jerry, a wealthy art lover and collector, whom she loved and who cherished her until his death. The probing questions elicit helpful answers for Hope confesses to being garrulous but in between these long answers Hope's mind goes back to her past, remembers and keeps some secrets for herself. The portrait that emerges is that of an artist among artists, a painter who experienced the excitement of those who rejected the anecdotal and the charming for performance art and abstract experiment. And there is her life as a creative woman frustrated at times by male selfishness or household responsibilities and unable to pursue her own work. Everything described is seen through an artist's eyes: the girl's face, the texture of the thin, mauve glass in the windows, the changing sky. Gradually, detail by detail, Updike gives us this woman, her thoughts, her ageing body, her possessions, her daily routines, preoccupations and pleasures. She has a wonderfully independent spirit. The relationship between young Kathryn and Hope changes as the hours pass and the day fades. With her sheaf of notes and her short, demanding enquiries the girl seems at times pushy, almost antagonistic, reluctant to accept even a cup of coffee. But when the time comes for her to leave the two women have begun to understand each other. An entrancing novel. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - John Updike

John Updike was born in 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He is the author of over fifty books, including The Poorhouse Fair; the Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest); Marry Me; The Witches of Eastwick, which was made into a major feature film; Memories of the Ford Administration; Brazil; In the Beauty of the Lilies; Toward the End of Time; Gertrude and Claudius; and Seek My Face. He has written a number of collections of short stories, including The Afterlife and Other Stories and Licks of Love, which includes a final Rabbit story, Rabbit Remembered. His essays and criticism first appeared in publications such as the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, and are now collected into numerous volumes. Collected Poems 1953-1993 brings together almost all of his verse, and a new edition of his Selected Poems is forthcoming from Hamish Hamilton. His novels, stories, and non-fiction collections have won have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award and the Howells Medal. Updike graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year at Oxford's Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of staff at the New Yorker, and he lived in Massachusetts from 1957 until his death in January 2009.

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