John Updike's passing meant the loss of one of America's literary giants. Now, two new collections of his poetry and short stories will likely be (barring the discovery of hidden manuscripts) the final books of new material from the author. Writing for The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani says that the books reflect a veteran of the written word confident in his abilities. These final stories and poems do not reflect an author keen on experimentation. Instead, Updike revisits the tried and true themes that made him one of the most important English language writers of the 20th century. Notable in the short stories are Updike's sense of nostalgia and his preoccupation with mortality. Overall, the two books make "a perfect bookend" to Updike's lengthy career.
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