Saturday, December 24, 2005

Updike's "Terrorist" and "Innocent Blood"

Anyone who read my 1997 novel “Innocent Blood” will find this news about John Updike’s work in progress of some interest, I would think. Personally, I can’t wait to read it:
By Jason Szep (Reuters), 14 Dec 2005
Pulitzer Prize-winning author John Updike's next project is bound to stir controversy -- not just in literary circles.
Titled "Terrorist," the novel confronts the emotional issue of changes in America after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks with a culturally charged twist: Updike's terrorist is a U.S. teenager given a sympathetic treatment.
The threat is not anonymous, foreign-born or groomed overseas by Osama bin Laden. He is an 18-year-old American-born son of an Irish mother and Egyptian father who finds Islam at a small urban American high school.
"It's my attempt, in a way, to cope with today's world," Updike said, referring to the novel that he expects to be published in June.
"Terrorism is one of our themes that has changed the texture of American life in a noticeable way. And, of course, it makes you fearful because you think, 'Well, I'm not a terrorist but somebody could be.' "
At one point, Updike considered another title, "Land of Fear." But that title had already been taken and "Terrorist" was more arresting, he said. Some scenes are set in Washington, D.C., with a fictional Cabinet, but Updike is careful not to give away the plot.
"I thought my take on it would be different from anybody else's -- trying to understand it from the terrorist's point of view and make him a sympathetic character," he said. …
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