A beautiful, moving collection of short stories, in many of which Updike revisits the haunts of his childhood from the vantage point of old age. In 'Fiftieth' old friends reconnect at a class reunion, and one of them is left wondering, 'What does it mean: the enormity of having been children and now being old, living next to death.' In the story 'The Full Glass' the protagonist describes somewhat ruefully the rituals of old age. Before going to bed, he raises his nightly water glass 'drinking a toast to the visible world, his impending disappearance from it be damned.' In 'Varieties of Religious Experiences' a grandfather, visiting his daughter in Brooklyn Heights, watches the tower of the World Trade Centre fall, and his view of a God is forever altered.
Again and again in these memorable stories, Updike strikes to the heart, giving words to what is so often left unsaid. He is at once witty, devastatingly observant, touching - and, of course, a consummate storyteller. This is a collection that will be admired and cherished.