In 1966 when John Updike was first asked to do a Paris Review interview he refused: ‘Perhaps I have written fiction because everything unambiguously expressed seems somehow crass to me; and when the subject is myself I want to jeer and weep.
Also I really don’t have a great deal to tell interviewers; the little I learned about life and the art of fiction I try to express in my work’.
The following year a second request won acceptance but Updike’s apprehension caused further delay.
Should there be a meeting followed by an exchange of written questions and answers or should this procedure be reversed?
Need there be any meeting at all?
(Updike fears becoming – even for a moment – ‘one more gassy monologuist’.)
In the end during the summer of 1967 written questions were submitted to him and afterward he was interviewed on Martha’s Vineyard – where he and his family take their vacation.
A first view of Updike revealed a jauntiness of manner surprising in a writer of such craft and sensibility.
After barreling down Edgartown’s narrow main street the author appeared from his beat-up Corvair—a barefoot tousle-haired young man dressed in khaki Bermudas and a sweatshirt.