By John Updike
The Jewish American novelist Henry Bech—procrastinating, libidinous, and tart-tongued, his attractiveness starting to be whereas his powers decline—made his first visual appeal in 1965, in John Updike’s “The Bulgarian Poetess.” That tale received the O. Henry First Prize, and it and the six Bech adventures that make up this collection. “Bech is the author in me,” Updike as soon as stated, “creaking yet lusty, battered yet undiscourageable, ate up the blood of ink and the bread of white paper.” As he trots the globe, promotes himself, and lurches from one woman’s mattress to another’s, Bech perspectives existence with a mix of ask yourself and cynicism that may make fans of the lit-biz smile with satisfaction and wince in popularity.
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Additional resources for Bech: A Book
I’d say the blue spots are a better bet, if you’re trying for another hive,” I told him. “The ones you’ve only marked with red are probably from Mr. Warner’s orchard. ” I dug the book from my pocket, and when I looked up to wish him a good day he was looking back at me, and the expression on his face took all words from my lips—no mean accomplishment. He was, as the writers say but people seldom actually are, openmouthed. He looked a bit like a fish, in fact, gaping at me as if I were growing another head.
Had he said almost anything else, or even said the same words in another manner, I should merely have made a brusque apology and a purposeful exit, and my life would have been a very different thing. However, he had, all unknowing, hit squarely on a highly sensitive spot. My reason for leaving the house at first light had been to avoid my aunt, and the reason (the most recent of many reasons) for wishing to avoid my aunt was the violent row we’d had the night before, a row sparked by the undeniable fact that my feet had outgrown their shoes, for the second time since my arrival three months before.
I shall leave her here, frustrated and unnamed, and hope she does not intrude further on my narrative. TWO THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE One came hither, to the school of the bees, to be taught the preoccupations of all-powerful nature… and the lesson of ardent and disinterested work; and another lesson too… to enjoy the almost unspeakable delights of those immaculate days that revolved on themselves in the fields of space, forming merely a transparent globe, as void of memory as the happiness without alloy.