In the Beauty of the Lilies
The book's scope is grand. It follows in intricate detail the pulses and patterns of an entire family through four generations, giving us not just a powerful look at the evolution of the family, but of the country in which they live. ...more
One cannot speed-read Updike. Anyone who tells you they breezed through this book (or many of Updike's other books) in a few hours is lying through his teeth. His complex sentences outdo Faulkner and Hardy; a single sentence can espouse a soul-changing philosophy but in 200 or so words.
I searched ...more
With Updike's recent passing, I decided to tackle the lone remaining unread Updike book on my shelf (I've previously read the Rabbit books, Couples, Witches of Eastwick, Museums and Women, and Of the Farm.)
Lillies ranks near the bottom of these Updike books, but that's not to say it wasn't enjoyable.
The book traces four generations of the Wilmot family:
It begins with Clarence, a preacher who gives up his faith; moves on to his youngest son Teddy, who finds relative happiness living as a mailman
By: Andrew C Bolender
In the Beauty of the Lilies
By John Updike
491 pp. New York
Alfred Knopf, Kindle Edition
“In the Beauty of the Lilies” Book Review: Decoding the Ambiguity
Throughout his novel, “In the Beauty of the Lilies,” John Updike encapsulates the senses with an exhaustive utilization of imagery. In many cases, the setting has so much concision in its definition, one might find their subconscious fully immersed in the description of these surroundings. Unafraid of draw ...more
Clarence Wilmot is a middle aged Presbyterian minister in Paterson, New Jersey, with a wife and three children in 1910. Like many other men of the cloth, he was not so much called to the avocation as he slid into it at the behest of his father, and became a product of Princeton’s seminary. He is well loved and respected in his parish. Then one d ...more
wonderful writer, with keen powers of
perception and description. I have read most of
his novels, and a smattering of book reviews
and essays. When he died earlier this year I
re-read some of his earlier work (the Rabbit
series, the Bech series, the Maples stories),
but never this one.
But to get back to page 163: "The girl dressed
in a slightly off-key way...a little too
fancily for everyday some days, her hair done
up behind in an old-fashioned rib ...more
The book begins with Clarence Wilmot, a Presbyterian minister in 1910 New Jersey who becomes aware one afternoon that he is an atheist. His ethical sensibilities compel him to resign, though he has no other trade and his ineptit ...more
The depictions of Paterson NJ in the early 20th c. and the small Delaware town afterwards were well-drawn and gave such an amazing sense of place. California and Colorado seemed more sketched-in.
Clarence's loss of faith was set up believably and the context of his congregation and etc. was wel ...more
John Updike gets a real believable feel for the turn of the twentieth century all the way to the nineties of our generation. He even talks about the professors of Princeton Seminary like B.B. Warfield. (I think John Updike is the only literary writer I know who can talk about infralapsarianism and hyperlapsarianism in a ...more