The hero of John Updike’s first novel, published when the author was twenty-six, is ninety-four-year-old John Hook, a dying man who yet refuses to be dominated. His world is a poorhouse—a county home for the aged and infirm—overseen by Stephen Conner, a righteous young man who considers it his duty to know what is best for others. The action of the novel unfolds over a single summer’s day, the day of the poorhouse’s annual fair, a day of escalating tensions between Conner and the rebellious Hook. Its climax is a contest between progress and tradition, benevolence and pride, reason and faith.
John (Hoyer) Updike (1932-) American novelist, short story writer and poet, internationally known for his novels RABBIT, RUN (1960), RABBIT REDUX (1971), RABBIT IS RICH (1981), and RABBIT AT REST (1990). His latest novel is VILLAGES (Penguin, 2005)