Seek My Face

A Novel

Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks
John Updike’s twentieth novel, like his first, The Poorhouse Fair, takes place in one day, a day that contains much conversation and some rain. The seventy-nine-year-old painter Hope Chafetz, who in the course of her eventful life has been Hope Ouderkirk, Hope McCoy, and Hope Holloway, answers questions put to her by a New York interviewer named Kathryn, and recapitulates, through stories from her career and many marriages, the triumphant, poignant saga of postwar American art. In the evolving relation between the two women, interviewer and subject move in and out of the roles of daughter and mother, therapist and patient, predator and prey, supplicant and idol. The scene is central Vermont; the time, the early spring of 2001.

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"LET ME BEGIN by reading to you," says the young woman, her slender, black-clad figure tensely jackknifed on the edge of the easy chair, with its faded coarse plaid and broad arms of orangish varnished oak, which Hope first knew in the Germantown sunroom, her grandfather posed in it reading the newspaper, his...
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PRAISE FOR

“A brief novel of deep feeling . . . What you recall is that reading Updike has always provided the pleasures you hoped were in store when you went through the trouble of learning to read.”—Time
 
“The premise of Seek My Face is clean and powerful, like a canvas by Barnett Newman. . . . Swirled over [it] is John Updike’s superabundant prose, dazzling strings of looping sentences that wrap these two women in glittering constellations of words.”—The New York Observer
 
“A rewarding new novel from our reigning master of surprise, the last sequence of which is surpassing in its beauty.”—San Francisco Chronicle