Quotes by John Updike

A narrative is like a room on whose walls a number of false doors have been painted; while within the narrative, we have many apparent choices of exit, but when the author leads us to one particular door, we know it is the right one because it opens.
– John Updike
Americans have been conditioned to respect newness, whatever it costs them.
– John Updike
Among the repulsions of atheism for me has been its drastic uninterestingness as an intellectual position. Where was the ingenuity, the ambiguity, the humanity of saying that the universe just happened to happen and that when we're dead we're dead?
– John Updike
Art is like baby shoes. When you coat them with gold, they can no longer be worn.
– John Updike
Boys are playing basketball around a telephone pole with a backboard bolted to it.
– John Updike
But for a few phrases from his letters and an odd line or two of his verse, the poet walks gagged through his own biography.
– John Updike
Each morning my characters greet me with misty faces willing, though chilled, to muster for another day's progress through the dazzling quicksand the marsh of blank paper.
– John Updike
Four years was enough of Harvard. I still had a lot to learn, but had been given the liberating notion that now I could teach myself.
– John Updike
From infancy on, we are all spies; the shame is not this but that the secrets to be discovered are so paltry and few.
– John Updike
Golf appeals to the idiot in us and the child. Just how childlike golf players become is proven by their frequent inability to count past five.
– John Updike
He had a sensation of anxiety and shame, a sensitivity acute beyond usefulness, as if the nervous system, flayed of its old hide of social usage, must record every touch of pain.
– John Updike
He skates saucily over great tracts of confessed ignorance.
– John Updike
Her sentences march under a harsh sun that bleaches color from them but bestows a peculiar, invigorating, Pascalian clarity.
– John Updike
I moved to New England partly because it has a real literary past. The ghosts of Hawthorne and Melville still sit on those green hills. The worship of Mammon is also somewhat lessened there by the spirit of irony. I don't get hay fever in New England either.
– John Updike
I secretly understood: the primitive appeal of the hearth. Television is-its irresistible charm-a fire.
– John Updike
I would especially like to recourt the Muse of poetry, who ran off with the mailman four years ago, and drops me only a scribbled postcard from time to time.
– John Updike
Inspiration arrives as a packet of material to be delivered.
– John Updike
It was one of history's great love stories, the mutually profitable romance which Hollywood and bohunk America conducted almost in the dark, a tapping of fervent messages through the wall of the San Gabriel Range.
– John Updike
Men emerge pale from the little printing plant at four sharp, ghosts for an instant, blinking, until the outdoor light overcomes the look of constant indoor light clinging to them.
– John Updike
Most of American life consists of driving somewhere and then returning home, wondering why the hell you went.
– John Updike