By John Updike
During this, the ultimate quantity in John Updike's mock-heroic trilogy in regards to the Jewish American author Henry Bech, our hero is older yet scarcely wiser. Now in his seventies, he continues to be aggressive, lecherous, and self-absorbed, misplaced in a courageous new literary global the place his books are hyped by way of Swiss-owned conglomerates, showcased in chain shops connected to coffee bars, and lower back to warehouses simply 3 weeks later. In 5 chapters extra startling and surreal than any that experience come sooner than, Bech presides over the yankee literary scene, enacts bloody revenge on his critics, and wins the world's such a lot coveted writing prize. It's tough being Henry Bech within the post-Gutenbergian international, yet an individual has to do it, and he brings to the duty his signature mix of grit, spit, and ennui.
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Extra resources for Bech at Bay: A Quasi-Novel
But out here, in the cold ground next to his parents, she was certainly gone. Still, Henry had needed to come out to say good-bye. He kissed the quarter and placed it on top of Ethel’s headstone. This was our promise of happiness, Henry thought. It’s all I have left to give. This is so you can be happy without me. He stood back, hands at his sides, and took three deep bows out of respect. “I have to go now,” Henry said. Before he left, he drew a lily from Ethel’s bundle of ﬂowers and set it on his mother’s grave.
So he went where he’d always gone to stimulate his senses, even as a little boy—a place where he always found a little comfort. He grabbed his hat and jacket and found himself stalking the dusty aisles of Bud’s Jazz Records. Bud’s had been a ﬁxture on South Jackson, near the old Pioneer Square, for as long as Henry could remember. Of course the original Bud Long didn’t actually own the place anymore. But the new guy, a grizzled fellow with sagging hangdog cheeks like those of a partially deﬂated Dizzy Gillespie, ﬁlled the part amiably.
And now that CDs were starting to outsell records, the used LP bins at Bud’s were overﬂowing with new used records every day. If one still existed, someone was bound to throw it out, or trade it in, not knowing what that dusty old recording meant to avid collectors like Henry. After all, Oscar who? Bud turned the music down a bit. ” Something modern was playing, Overton Berry, Henry guessed, from the deep melancholy of the piano. Henry thought about his absence. He’d been a regular for most of his adult life, and part of his youth.
Bech at Bay: A Quasi-Novel by John Updike