John Updike S

ISBN 13: 9780394568355

S

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S. is the story of Sarah P. Worth, a thoroughly modern spiritual seeker who has become enamored of a Hindu mystic called the Arhat. A native New Englander, she goes west to join his ashram in Arizona, and there struggles alongside fellow sannyasins (pilgrims) in the difficult attempt to subdue ego and achieve moksha (salvation, release from illusion). “S.” details her adventures in letters and tapes dispatched to her husband, her daughter, her brother, her dentist, her hairdresser, and her psychiatrist—messages cleverly designed to keep her old world in order while she is creating for herself a new one. This is Hester Prynne’s side of the triangle described by Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter; it is also a burlesque of the quest for enlightenment, and an affectionate meditation on American womanhood.
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From the Back Cover:

"A Tour De Force." -- The New York Times

"One of Updike's lightest, funniest, and sliest fictions -- a comedy about the sneaky economies of the spirit." -- The New Yorker

"Entirely satisfying and entertaining with a good half-dozen hilarious twists and surprises at the end for everyone...John Updike has given us with S., his 12th and funniest novel." -- Chicago Sun-Times

"Delightful and penetrating...[John Updike] is the chief chronicler of the life and times of the modern American middle class -- and perhaps its most important literary conscience." -- The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Immensely clever...The novel glimmers with the wry intelligence one has come to associate with Updike's vision." -- The Boston Globe

From the Inside Flap:

Worth -- doctor's wife, North Shore matron, loving mother, and now (suddenly!) ardent follower of a Hindu religious leader known as the Arhat. As this brilliant and very funny novel opens, Sarah is fleeing the confinement of her suburban life to become a sannyasin (pilgrim) at her guru's Arizona ashram.

In the letters and audiocassettes that Sarah sends to her husband, daughter, mother, brother, best friend -- to her psychiatrist and her hairdresser and her dentist -- master novelist John Updike gives us a witty comedy of manners, a biting satire of life on a religious commune, and the story -- deep and true -- of an American woman in search of herself.
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