Quote Pot: John Updike’s Bech at Bay

bech at bay

It took me a long while to finish Bech at Bay. It’s my first Updike. But I’m not very much impressed with the Bech character. Maybe if I had read the previous Bech books, I would have had a different reception. Anyway, here are some outstanding quotes I have reaped from my painfully slow Bech read.

On youth and it’s characteristic inclination to nonconformism:

These younger ones are like that. They think it’s smart, not to belong. I was the same at their age.

On death:

There is no disgrace in death… The disgrace comes in prolonging life with artificial and unseemly means.

Die everybody!..Let’s all die

On Women:

Bech had always vibrated in response to the nervousness of women, their iridescent aura of potential hysteria.

On creativity and its necessary self-immersion:

You all have to be self-centered, I realize that, if you’re going to do anything worthwhile.

On religion:

Absence is an awesome statement, as the world’s religions testify.

On the logic of virtual connectivity:

“If he can get out,” she said, “a smart cracker can get in. The Internet is one big happy family, like it or not.”

On progress:

Before, you were some sort of a sponge, just sitting there, waiting for stuff to soak in. Now you’ve, like they say on the talk shows, taken charge of your life.

On writing:

“They were right, the bastards,” Bech fumed, “I have nothing to say.” I just wanted to pose, and print was the easiest place for a shy guy. can you expect to write about people…when you don’t have a clue to the crap …that’s in their heads?

On living:

Our dread–dread at being here, on this planet that appears lonelier and more negligible with each new revelation from astronomy.

P.S. Though it was laborious, it wasn’t an entirely bad read.

And, I’m bad at reviews, so I’m giving you quotes instead.


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