Review | Problems and Other Stories by John Updike
Genre: short stories, realistic fiction
Setting: all over America, 1970s
# of Pages: 285
The skinny: Updike chronicles the painful mundane: life and love in America.
The fat: This collection of stories is one of the best portraits of everyday life in America I’ve ever come across (and I hate short stories usually, so that’s saying something). “How to Love America and Leave It at the Same Time” is especially poignant, and in the titular “Problems” the mathematics of emotion plumb unexpected depths. Updike harps too long on certain themes (divorce, infidelity) and all the main characters seem to be cut from exactly the same cloth (middle-aged while male divorcés–shocker, this is the ’70s) so that the stories start to feel repetitive, but overall a good, thought-provoking read.