John Hoyer Updike, 1982, oil on canvas by Alex Katz
The novel historically has its roots in the city. But the astonishingly prolific John Updike has successfully shown how it can also examine the morals and manners of suburban America. In his five-part series whose central character is "Rabbit" Angstrom, Updike has chronicled middle-class America's postwar history in comic and heartbreaking fashion. Updike has also written three novels about a moderately successful Jewish novelist called Henry Bech, who eventually-and implausibly-wins the Nobel Prize; curiously, the Nobel is one prize that Updike has not won. Updike once said his goal was to publish a book a year, and he has come close, with twenty-three novels and many collections of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. His 1960 New Yorker essay on baseball player Ted Williams's retirement, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," is regarded as one of the best pieces of sports journalism.