The Centaur

The Centaur WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD AND THE PRIX DU MEILLEUR LIVRE TRANGER The Centaur is a modern retelling of the legend of Chiron the noblest and wisest of the centaurs who painfully wounded yet u

  • Title: The Centaur
  • Author: John Updike
  • ISBN: 9780449912164
  • Page: 380
  • Format: Paperback
  • WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD AND THE PRIX DU MEILLEUR LIVRE TRANGER The Centaur is a modern retelling of the legend of Chiron, the noblest and wisest of the centaurs, who, painfully wounded yet unable to die, gave up his immortality on behalf of Prometheus In the retelling, Olympus becomes small town Olinger High School Chiron is George Caldwell, a science teacherWINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD AND THE PRIX DU MEILLEUR LIVRE TRANGER The Centaur is a modern retelling of the legend of Chiron, the noblest and wisest of the centaurs, who, painfully wounded yet unable to die, gave up his immortality on behalf of Prometheus In the retelling, Olympus becomes small town Olinger High School Chiron is George Caldwell, a science teacher there and Prometheus is Caldwell s fifteen year old son, Peter Brilliantly conflating the author s remembered past with tales from Greek mythology, John Updike translates Chiron s agonized search for relief into the incidents and accidents of three winter days spent in rural Pennsylvania in 1947 The result, said the judges of the National Book Award, is a courageous and brilliant account of a conflict in gifts between an inarticulate American father and his highly articulate son.

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    About "John Updike"

    1. John Updike

      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, having published 22 novels and than a dozen short story collections as well as poetry, literary criticism and children s books Hundreds of his stories, reviews, and poems have appeared in The New Yorker since the 1950s His works often explore sex, faith, and death, and their inter relationships.He died of lung cancer at age 76.

    525 thoughts on “The Centaur”

    1. ”It must be terrible to know so much.”A pause.“It is,” my father said. “It’s hell.”Chiron depicted in Roman art. The Greeks always depicted him with human front legs. Chiron educated the children of the gods and goddesses so he is an apt mythological creature for George Caldwell to identify with.George Caldwell is a school teacher at Olinger High School. He struggles with teaching, not because he isn’t good at it, but because he wants it to be so much more. His mind is so expansi [...]

    2. In this modern retelling of ancient Greek myth (à la Joyce's Ulysses) Updike presents us with the famed myth of Chiron, the centaur. Set in late-40s small town America we have the stories of George Caldwell, a teacher in his 50s, and his son Peter, 15 years old and laden with psoriasis. The father's and son's narratives switch every second chapter with the father's narrative being in the third-person and the son's in first-person.The narratives that we are presented with can be read as coming-o [...]

    3. when updike croaked out edmund white wrote that the father/son sections of the centaur were his personal favorite of the dead man's writings. you don't fuck with edmund white. the centaur is a strange strange book; flawed, but the good parts are really so good that white might be right: this could be updike's best stand-alone novel. (pardon the awkward qualifier -- 'stand alone' simply means that nothing's gonna beat the totality of the Rabbit cycle). it amazes how the guy can pack so much insid [...]

    4. "Appesantito e stordito dalla propria morte, torpido e diafano come un predatore trasparente che trascini i propri tentacoli velenosi attraverso le pressioni adamantine delle profondità oceaniche, si sposta alle spalle degli spettatori e cerca suo figlio tra la folla".Updike si muove in questo testo nel segno dell'ironia fantastica e della sperimentazione creativa, accompagnando il lettore in un viaggio ai limiti della forma, in una narrazione che ha come centro l'introspezione e la ricerca di [...]

    5. I read The Centaur in my senior year of high school. Rereading it now, I realize either that I cheated and didn't actually read it before I wrote the book report - or I'm just getting so old that I don't remember it at all. My book report was on its parallels with Greek mythology, which are numerous and complex. Could be I just thumbed through and wrote down all the names of the gods, then looked them up in the encyclopedia so I could make some kind of diagram about how their relationships fit t [...]

    6. This book is sadly underrated among Updike's oeuvre. I think it's his best literary accomplishment. The Centaur is both a distorted, modernized retelling of the myth of Chiron and a moving story of a father and son. The prose is dense and rich, heavy with classical illusion; this isn't the easiest read, but it's worth the work. Updike's erudition and his gorgeous way with a sentence are on display here to a degree unmatched by any of his other work.

    7. داستان در مورد رابطه ی بین پدر و پسر بودکتابی نیود که خیلییی منو جذب کنه.

    8. Updike certainly has a unique prose style that is enjoyable. The father/son interchange fell flat, in part it felt because of the attempt to tie the story into a broader mythological realm. Maybe it worked better back in the day, but the story seventy years in the past didn't seem to have the same universality as the mythology upon which it was loosely based.

    9. An interesting novel which finds meaning in the mundane of everyday life; concerning George Caldwell and his son Peter, a boy in his mid teens. There are strong autobiographical elements. It is set in rural Pennsylvania, where Updike grew up. Updike's father was a schollteacher and like Peter in the book, Updike had psoriasis and loved art. Woven into all this is Greek mythology; hence the title. George is the centaur Chiron and all the other characters are have their mythological equivalents. T [...]

    10. Updike captures angst like no other author. This short novel set in 1947 in small town America, depicts the relationship between a father and his adolescent son by watching them over three days. These characters were so vividly portrayed that I felt as if I had inhabited their skin. Interspersed between chapters narrating the events of these days in a traditional form, were short passages in which these figures were transmuted into mythological figures. My knowledge of these figures is simply to [...]

    11. Грандиозно, но не все понятно.И круто, что в США есть холодильники и бананы в 1947 году

    12. Since reading the biography of John Updike, "Updike By Adam Begley", earlier in the month, this was a gap in the writer's work that I had not read. Reading it now, I can appreciate the obvious biographical nature of the novel. Names of places and characters have been changed, but, there is no doubting that this is Updike writing of his own family. He gives a graphic account of the conflict in gifts between his articulate self and, in particular, his inarticulate Dad. His father is totally lackin [...]

    13. One of the most beautiful things I've ever read was from this book:"My vast canvases- so oddly expensive as raw materials, so oddly worthless transmuted into art- with sharp rectangular shoulders hulk into silhouette against the light. Your breathing keeps time with the slow rose. Your solemn mouth has relaxed in sleep and the upper lip displays the little extra racial button of fat like a bruise blister. Your sleep contains innocence as the night contains dew. Listen: I love you, love your prim [...]

    14. This book tells the story of three days in the lives of a man and his son, living in rural Pennsylvania in the early 50s. The dad is a teacher at his son's school, and is convinced he is going to die. Soon. He also likens himself to the mythological beast Chiron, the centaur, and parts of the book are told from this point of view. The son is a typical teenager, somewhat embarrassed by and for his father, and never feeling like he quite gets the attention he feels he deserves. He also feels prote [...]

    15. This incredible story by John Updike shows a father struggling to maintain a relationship with his son by comparing the real world to mystical characters. George Caldwell and his son Peter both long to escape from their town and find happiness. Depression and anxiety are a recurring theme throughout; both characters suffer from loneliness and refuse to accept themselves. Self-loathing is present and acceptance into this world by their peers in yearned for.John Updike makes interesting parallels [...]

    16. Not my favorite Updike book, but an interesting one. Take his writing style and add some Greek mythology to the mix. This is a modern take on the story of Chiron. There is an index in the back of the book telling you which gods are mentioned, but kind of wish they told you who's who.

    17. This is my second Updike (the other being "The Poor House Fair"). I am wondering if one reads Updike on two levels. The first is simply his prose which is, for me, rather like a big box of candy. That is, irrespective of story, plot, or continuity, I am stunned and charmed by its deliciousness. For example, on page 190 of the first paperback edition: "In the pervasive descent an eddy of air now and then angrily flings a tinkling icy handful upward into his warm face. Peter had forgotten what sno [...]

    18. This book intrigued me and pulled me all the way through to its end--but once I finished it, I felt like a dope. Normally I pride myself on "sophisticated" or at least marginally intelligent fiction analyses--well, in my own head, anyway, since I usually feel like I 'get' a book, even if I can't or don't try to do it justice on . Most books at least make some kind of internal sense within my brain.This, however, I did not 'get.' (view spoiler)[ The 'abstractification' of the ending and the incon [...]

    19. I have to agree with the reviewer who said, "until the second chapter, I wasn't sure if I was going to finish this book." I felt exactly the same way. The weaving of the two stories was extremely confusing at first, the way that Updike just replaced Charion with George and slid seamlessly between the two narratives. I could not FOLLOW it. But, based on all the positive reviews here, I refused to throw in the towel and stuck it out. I'm so glad I did. I've always considered myself well-read, but [...]

    20. “The Founding Fathers in their wisdom decided that children were an unnatural strain on parents. So they provided jails called schools, equipped with tortures called an education. School is where you go between when your parents can’t take you and industry can’t take you.”Adolescence is a magic season of life – it's a myth and it's a legend and it's a quest for love.And John Updike was the one who with his wondrous words turned adolescence into a miracle.

    21. Innecesariamente confuso, osea no es porque fuera necesario para la historia sino por simple capricho propio, podria habrme saltado la mitad del libro y aun asi no me hubiera perdido nada.

    22. Such an amazing book, but the perfect resemblence of the father in this book to my own dad was excruciating down to the last detail. Except my dad is not a centaur.

    23. ასი წიგნი რომ დამიდონ და არ ვიცოდე რომელია აპდაიკის, მივხვდები ისეთი სპეციფიური გადმოცემის სტილი აქვს. ზოგ რომანს საერთოდ სიუჟეტიც არ აქვს ან თუ აქვს ძაან უბრალო. ესეც ერთ-ერთი მათგანია.წი [...]

    24. The Centaur is a well-structured narrative which for the most part, succeeds in detailing a world based in a metaphysical realm of abstraction, and a more familiar, concrete reality. These do not occur simultaneously, but share the same continuity of events and an abstract sense of place. The concrete world we're introduced to sets itself in Pennsylvania during the winter months of the mid-1900s. We're introduced to a sympathetic high school teacher named George Caldwell in an event which foresh [...]

    25. Perhaps the best that can be said of Updike's story is that it is relatable. But then, in my small, three-person reading group, only two of us (poignantly, both men) were actually able to relate. The trouble is, Updike can prove very alienating in most of his work, depending on your taste. And The Centaur, being an early effort, does not necessarily have all the benefit of experience behind it. On top of that, the book essentially lacks a plot, its characters frequently tend towards shallowness, [...]

    26. It wasn't a bar bet, exactly, but one night not long ago I made a few sweeping (and whiskey-fueled) statements about the irrelevance and sexism of mid-century white dude novelists like Roth, Cheever, and Updike that quite unexpectedly garnered such a thoughtful, knowledgable defense of Updike from my friend Dave that the only possible way I saw to save face was to immediately promise to read the Updike novel of his choosing. (Jodi was there, she saw it go down.) Which is how I came to The Centau [...]

    27. Updike goes for some surprisingly cheap shots. Doc says: "Constant irritation of the digestive track can produce pain and the sensation of anal fullness you describe.' Patient, in response, says, "I wouldn't mind plugging ahead" Oh, Updike, really? After giving us the beautiful, brilliant "Rabbit, Run" we get lame scat jokes and a non-story? I don't know much about the utilization of ancient myths in modern literature, but I do know when Joyce goes for broke with scatological, filthy jokes in "U [...]

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