This is a very entertaining book and extremely well written. John Updike must have been ever so pleased with himself after writing this book about such a smug, clever, and witty writer!
Henry Bech isn’t a sympathetic character. I don’t like him. He can’t say anything without trying to be clever in that insufferable way some people have who want to always show how intelligent they are. He also seems to be a magnet for the ladies. But, this is fiction isn’t it? Bech’s sword is mightier than his pen.
The book is about Bech visiting an Eastern Europe still behind the Iron Curtain, taking drugs with his girlfriend / mistress and then sleeping with her sister, visiting a girl’s academy in West Virginia, spending a few days in London and meeting a gossip columnist, and finally being inducted into a literary society.
This is a writer’s testament as to what it was like to be a writer in America in the 1960s.