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by John Updike

Pub Date: June 15th, 1962
ISBN: 0449912256
Publisher: Knopf

The eclat of this writer's career (The Poorhouse Fair, 1959, and Run. Rabbit, 1960, together with his book of verse and an earlier volume of short stories) make this book of special interest. The twenty inclusions sustain his reputation, for the tangible sense of words, the illumined percipience, and the spare patterns of his landscapes fit well into the short story form. Here, from the insistence of a child's developing awareness of the world and the adults in it, to the association with death, and the small exchanges of married couples, are precise traceries of people not only in their environment but in their unresolved relations with others. An early morning breakfast (The Crow in the Woods), the revelation of religion and its connection with killing pigeons (the title story), an honest answer to a child adopted through an international charity (Dear Alexander), an American at an English art school (Still Life), a divinity student as a Lifeguard, the progress of a boy's rebellion (Flight) — are some of those that display the distinctive qualities that mark Updike's work, while the others offer contrasts in the variety of their subjects. For the connoisseurs, a collection of merit.