Review of The Maples Stories by John Updike

The gift of loving. The heart’s projection in a face. 

Poetic logic extrapolated into pullulating prose. Rhythms of the distracted interior. The quiet calm of an assured mind. The heady grandeur of a passing fancy. Every stiff tonsure and allure of wafting tendrils of silken hair. A magniloquent breeze. Heartfelt murmur of a bird in wind-beaten rafters. A seeking aloft of cloud-blurred sky. A heartbeat chained to your chest. The striven sentence gartered with a quick verb. The heavy motion of a sigh. Billowing. Harrowed, the child’s cry, penned in the far room, wallowing among toys with diapered Godzilla thighs, he cries, he cries. Angered words, the effluence of a relationship souring, the nightmare of a night’s drive, shame-pallored. Exhaustion, melancholic diatribes. What lies under decency, descriptions to paralyze, awe-stippled immersion, inspiring exquisite awareness, paltry gestures, the loyalty inherent in every phrase. Guilt sobs, ecstatic squeals of solemn heartthrob, a heart robbed of devout ballast. A mind navigating treacherous soul waters. Inner courage and its lack, detectable with a word or wordlessness. Exploring hurt. Imagery so immaculate you want to house it in glass. How all of life, no matter how convincing it is, is but a dream, partially remembered, drearily endured, or breathlessly eroded. Smart, swift, and elaborately unkind. Sincere, entranced, rapture-ridden iridescent impressions. The words have an elegant complexion. Emotions bunching up, stacking like Saltines in the esophagus. How we all drag along afterbirths, our pasts, and within its sticky folds our bitterly recollected traumas swarm like fire ants. The obsession with sleeping with people, adultery, like alcoholism, a congenital disease of his characters, a modus operandi. The people who give them a new lease on life are always located outside the marriage, they are trying to solve their problems by feeding the hole inside them. Facing the void of the self.

These were pieces of my feelings while reading this collection.

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