From the title story: “When they moved to Firetown, things were upset, displaced, rearranged. A red cane-back sofa that had been the chief piece in the living room at Olinger was here banished, too big for the narrow country parlor, to the barn, and shrouded under a tarpaulin. Never again would David lie on its length all afternoon eating raisins and reading mystery novels and science fiction and P. G. Wodehouse.” Doesn’t that make you want to read on?
The art of the short story is one which has been practised many, many times over the 20th century by the majority of American authors. It seems to be a standard custom for anyone wishing to make themselves a novelist to begin by starting small (makes sense, I suppose, a literary form of crawling). In our celebration of all things bookish what could be more appropriate than by celebrating the simple, immediate pleasure of short stories than by presenting a volume by the great post-war American, John Updike. Between the 190 page of this book are 18 stories, each one begging to be snatched in the brief minutes between other things (post office queues are perfect for short stories) and the slimness of this penguin edition is perfect for slipping into coat pockets.