Ben Turnbull is a 66-year-old retired investment consultant living north of Boston in the year 2020. A recent war between the United States and China has thinned the population and brought social chaos. Nevertheless, Ben's life, traced by his journal entries over the course of the year, retains much of its accustomed comforts. Something of a science buff, he finds his personal history caught up in the disjunctions and vagaries of the 'many universes' theory; his identity branches into variants extending back through history and ahead in the evolution of the universe, as both it and his own mortal, nature-shrouded existence move toward the end of time.
John Updike was born in 1932. He graduated from Harvard in 1954 and spent a year in England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford. From 1955 to 1957. He has written over 40 books. He lives in Massachusetts.