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Problems: And Other Stories

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  211 ratings  ·  17 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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Included Stories as Titles
49th out of 86 books — 13 voters
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Best of John Updike
38th out of 80 books — 1 voter


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Fionnuala
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
...more
Aaron
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 main problem of *Problems* is finally thus: neither are all Americans walking penises (albeit many are), nor are, as is the case in Updike's depraved mind, all American women sluts and whores (albeit some are).


So, the fabled style of Updike’s often strikes one as futile exercise in virtuosity, without the depth of wisdom or, ultimately, kind, redemptive qualities that one would expect from a great writer. Updike’s role is that of a tireless chronicler specializing in depiction of the dissol
...more
Maan
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
...more
Mary Lynn
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...)
Aaron
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 best...in my "humble" opinion
Bill
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.
Mads
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.
Tyler
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
Fabulous short story collection. Updike at his best writing about marital and other relationship problems. One of my favorite story collections of all time.
Kathy
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. :(
Mary
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

one story is exactly what a short story should be.
Much like "Updikes" story "A@P"
Inquire
A good set of stories.
Melissa
I read this while going through a breakup that felt like a divorce. It helped a lot.
KH
KH added it
Mar 27, 2015
Jaime
Jaime marked it as to-read
Jan 05, 2015
Mona Temchin
Mona Temchin marked it as to-read
Jan 01, 2015
Shannon Ray Ray
Shannon Ray Ray marked it as to-read
Dec 23, 2014
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6878
John Hoyer Updike (born March 18, 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania) 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 hi ...more
More about John Updike...
Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstrom, #1) Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom, #4) Rabbit Is Rich (Rabbit Angstrom, #3) Rabbit Redux (Rabbit Angstrom, #2) The Witches of Eastwick (Eastwick, #1)

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