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Problems: And Other Stories

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  235 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
In this midcareer collection of twenty-three short stories, John Updike tackles such problems as separation, divorce, and remarriage, parents and children, guns and prostitution, leprosy, swooning, suffocation, and guilt. His self-seeking heroes tend to be forty; his heroines are asleep, seductive, longing, or reproachful. None of these characters is innocent, and all are ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 12th 1985 by Fawcett (first published 1979)
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The Garden Party and Other Stories by Katherine MansfieldThe Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories by Ernest HemingwayThe Emperor's New Clothes and Other Stories by Hans Christian AndersenBabylon Revisited and Other Stories by F. Scott FitzgeraldMetamorphosis And Other Stories by Franz Kafka
Included Stories as Titles
49th out of 86 books — 13 voters
Rabbit, Run by John UpdikeRabbit at Rest by John UpdikeRabbit Is Rich by John UpdikeRabbit Redux by John UpdikePigeon Feathers and Other Stories by John Updike
Best of John Updike
40th out of 100 books — 4 voters

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Problems, the title story in this collection, has three main characters, A, B and C. A lives with B, having divorced C.
A has many problems in his life, college fees, household bills, psychiatrist issues, laundry problems, but the biggest one is that although B is young and beautiful, and A divorced C for her, A still spends most of his time obsessing about C.
John Updike stretches this basic premise into a series of fun maths problems none of which move A closer to solving his initial dilemma a
Dec 29, 2014 Aaron rated it really liked it
As most always, as in most of these stories - as in the majority of Updike's work - the protagonists are white, privileged New Englanders. This isn't exactly a detraction in my reading; rather, it's Updike's primary literary vehicle for conveying some very insightful, semi- (if not fully-) autobiographical "Guilt-Gems" (to borrow one of the story's titles). These protagonists are divorced (or divorcing) forty-something dads trying to fit it all together and get on with their lives. Though someti ...more
Boris Gregoric
The problem of *Problems* are American males(mere) walking penises, and are, as the case be in Updike's depraved psyche, American women only obnoxious and spoiled sluts and whores? Obviously not.

As to the fabled style of Updike’s (and the insipid New Yorker school of writing the same story over and over again) –it strikes one as futile exercise in virtuosity, without the depth of proper life wisdom or, ultimately, kind, redemptive qualities that one would expect from a so-called great writer.

Mar 23, 2012 Maan rated it it was ok
Book #24 for 2012: Truth be told, I just randomly picked up this book from a shelf in the library just because I needed a "U" for my A-Z Challenge.

Problems is a collection of short stories. This is my first Updike. Although I still have no strong opinion about this book as a whole, I did like some of his stories. Please refer to my favorite lines.

Favorite lines:
The subway, rattling, plunges back underground. Or, it may be, as some extreme saints have implied, that beneath the majesty of the I
Sep 13, 2015 Ivan rated it really liked it
FIRST LINE REVIEW: "It comes on every night, somewhere in the eleven-o'clock news." And Updike's steady reporting of the walks we all take through life continues in this collection of stories from the 70's. His mastery of language is still there, maturing along with his muscles and aching bones. His relationships in the real world also continue to find their fictive outlets in these mini-worlds, reminding me how easily and often art imitates life.
Beth Slucher
Jan 26, 2016 Beth Slucher rated it it was amazing
the lost generation of the 1960s
Mary Lynn
Jun 16, 2011 Mary Lynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm still trying to decide what I think of this collection as a whole. It was my first exposure to Updike so I'm interested in reading some of his novels next. Brilliant, amazing writer, no doubt about that; and the title story of this collection is pure genius. (But then, I'm a mathematician turned fiction writer, so it's hard for me to resist a short story told in a sequence of math problems...)
Aug 07, 2011 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent collection - I think it's actually a good example of writing style, but I didn't like most of the plots. If you pick up this book I recommend "Minutes to the Last Meeting", "The Fairy Godfathers", and "Separating"...there's two or three others that are pretty good, but these are the my "humble" opinion
One of Updike's best short story collections. Covers the period of his transition into a new marriage, children still at home, though some leaving; dabbling with other popular short story forms. His flowery style is restrained appropriately by the form itself.
Jul 06, 2007 Mads rated it really liked it
I have to say that I hate JU poems but his short stories are something else. Each word just sparkles in this collection. It starts slow but with the one entitled "Transaction" I was hooked.
Dec 11, 2009 Tyler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, the-new-yorker
A pretty terrific collection. Highlights: "The Gun Shop;" "Nevada;" "How To Love America and Leave It At The Same Time;" "Separating;" "Here Come The Maples;" "The Egg Race; "Atlantises."
Caleb Mason
Jul 11, 2013 Caleb Mason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous short story collection. Updike at his best writing about marital and other relationship problems. One of my favorite story collections of all time.
Dec 15, 2008 Kathy rated it it was ok
I picked this up because at a lecture by John Updike he said he liked his short stories better than his novels. Apparently we don't have the same taste. :(
Aug 17, 2012 Mary rated it liked it
Three stars out of the possible five is about right for me.
I liked more than half of the 23 stories a lot.
 don presnell

I'm not a big fan of short stories.
But in my opinion"'Updike's" the master.
Aug 18, 2015 Autumn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
This collection wasn't as cohesive as some of his others.
A good set of stories.
Melissa Jean
Jul 29, 2014 Melissa Jean rated it really liked it
I read this while going through a breakup that felt like a divorce. It helped a lot.
David Vincent
Nov 17, 2011 David Vincent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Good Read.
Jun 15, 2009 Lisa rated it did not like it
Very repetitive.
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John Hoyer Updike was an American writer. Updike's most famous work is his Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest; and Rabbit Remembered). Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest both won Pulitzer Prizes for Updike. Describing his subject as "the American small town, Protestant middle class," Updike is well known for his careful craftsmanship and prolific writing, havin ...more
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