The folks at RealSimple.com have put together a reading list of “17 Great Books You Won’t Be Able to Put Down,” and though John Updike’s Villages has been put down by a number of critics, the novel nonetheless made their list.
In choosing it, the editors called Villages an “intriguing commentary on sexuality in 1970s suburbia.”
As Amazon summarizes, “John Updike’s twenty-first novel, a bildungsroman, follows its hero, Owen Mackenzie, from his birth in the semi-rural Pennsylvania town of Willow to his retirement in the rather geriatric community of Haskells Crossing, Massachusetts. In between these two settlements comes Middle Falls, Connecticut, where Owen, and early computer programmer, founds with a partner, Ed Mervine, the successful firm of E-O Data, which is housed in an old gun factory on the Chunkaunkabaug River. Owen’s education (Bildung) is not merely technical but liberal, as the humanity of his three villages, especially that of their female citizens, works to disengage him from his youthful innocence. . . . “