John Updike, the son of a schoolteacher father and a mother who wanted to be a writer, was raised in Reading, Pennsylvania--a town not unlike Brewer, where, many years later, he situated his famous character, Rabbit Angstrom. Updike graduated from Harvard, where he nourished "an un-Harvardian desire to be a cartoonist," as he put it in an interview, and where he was turned down "repeatedly" for Archibald MacLeish's writing class. He was also editor of Harvard's famous humor magazine, the Lampoon. After college, Updike worked for a few years on the staff of The New Yorker before he began publishing fiction. He is the author of over 50 books, including not only novels but collections of short stories, poems, and criticism--even children's books. His novels have been almost invariably critical and popular successes, and his tetralogy about Rabbit Angstrom (RABBIT, RUN; RABBIT REDUX; RABBIT IS RICH; RABBIT AT REST) has assured him a prominent place in American literary history. Updike is a disciplined writer who has said that he can't enjoy the rest of the day until he's written at least a thousand words. Considered one of the masters of contemporary fiction, he has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Updike is the father of four children and has been married twice. He died in 2009 from lung cancer.
From the Publisher
In this passionate thriller, Updike approaches the delicate subject of post-September 11th society in the United States. He manages to get under the skin of the other, Ahmad, ? the son of an Irish-American woman and an Egyptian man who ran off when his son was only three ? who has converted into Islam and seems destined to become a martyr.
John Updike aims to shape the pastiche portrait of the homegrown terrorist (a la Richard Reid, John Walker, even Timothy McVeigh) into something psychologically rich and artistically profound. A lesser writer would have stumbled into threadbare stereotype, but Updike is up to the task, and his novel about Ahmad Mulloy Ashmawy, an angry 18-year-old who falls under the sway of a fundamental Islamic leader, simultaneously captures the seething rage of the alienated youth, and provides a vivid window into a world of shame, hate, and outlandish schemes that could, eventually, come to catastrophic fruition.