It's been said that John Updike is able to write extremely well about nothing what so ever, less to do with the sort of hyper-realism of Robbe-Grillet or the purposeful taxonomies of David Foster Wallace than the plain old conceit of being in love your own voice. There is no theoretical edge to Updike's unceasing albeit elegant wordiness. It's a habit formed from deadlines as he authored many books of short stores, published novels at a steady click, and wrote high caliber book and art reviews in great quantity. He was a writer by trade, and write he did . He has published a minimum of one book a year since his first book The Poorhouse Fair was published in 1958, and like any artists who is as prolific over a long period--Wood Allen and Joyce Carol Oates fans take note--there will be the inevitable productions that are ambitious but under constructed, dull, repetitive of past success, what have you.Toward the End of Time was one of his occasional flings with science fiction and it was dull beyond repair. Licks of Love was rather a quaint and grandiloquent selection of lately composed stories that don't add much to his reputation. The Rabbit quartet, though, is masterful, a genuine American Saga of a man who is the quintessential rudderless citizen who goes through an entire lifetime in which none of his experiences gives any clue to purposes beyond his own disappointments and satisfactions. Updike is brilliant in this sequence, and for this alone I'd guess his reputation as a major writer is safe for generations to come. He's had his share of duds, but an unusually high proportion of his work is masterful, even brilliant. The Rabbit quartet, The Coup, Witches of Eastwick, Brazil, Beck: A Book, The Centaur, Roger's Version. I could go on. It's interesting as well to note the high incidence of experimentation with narrative form and subject matter. Rabbit placed him with this image of being someone comically dwelling on the lapsed virtues of middle aged East Coasters, ala John Cheever, (another writer I prize), but he has been all over the map so far as what he's written about and how he wrote about it. Even though I've cooled on Updike lately--I've been reading him for thirty years--I can't dismiss him nor diminish his accomplishment. He is one of the untouchables. Besides, neurosis is character, and it's hardly a monochromatic shade. It's a trait that comes across in infinitely varied expressions, and we need someone who can artfully exploit their potential.