Updike was not only one of Freeman’s personal heroes—the introduction to How to Read a Novelist is called “U and Me: The Hard Lessons of Idolizing John Updike” (excerpted here)—but he was also twice a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, twice the subject of a Time magazine cover story, and a prolific contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and many other publications.
In this interview, Updike addresses his move from New York City to Massachusetts’s North Shore—“If I was going to be a New York culture vulture,” Updike says, “I shouldn’t have gotten married and had children. . . . Children pin you down, and if we were going to be pinned down, why not at least be pinned down somewhere we could park the car for free, and get some free air, and grass, and sunshine, and so on . . .”—the Guggenheim that allowed him to write his first novel, Rabbit, Run, and, when asked what brought him to his desk every morning, “the fear that you somehow neglected to say what was really yours to say.”
There’s lots more from How to Read a Novelist to check out too: Here’s some of Freeman’s interview with Jonathan Franzen, and the one with Jeffrey Eugenides, and a podcast from his conversation with Robin Sloan at San Francisco’s City Lights.
If you ask us, How to Read a Novelist will make a PERFECT STOCKING-STUFFER (life-size image below).