Hugging the middle

John Updike and Religion: The Sense of the Sacred and the Motions of Grace, edited by James Yerkes

In the Disney movie Aladdin, the genie (Robin Williams) describes what life is like in his condition: "Phenomenal cosmic powers," he boasts in thunderous tones; "itty-bitty living space," he concludes in a squeaky little voice. I have often wondered if this isn't true of John Updike as well. He has an unparalleled gift for descriptive language. But is his version of middle-class life enough of an arena for his talents? Is there really any religious or moral depth animating his descriptions?


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