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Owen Mackenzie's life story abounds with sin and seduction, domesticity and debauchery. Sexually repressed as a young man, Owen later marries the elegant and remote Phyllis, his college girlfriend. But this soon leads to his first betrayal and he abandons his reserve, embarking on a succession of passionate affairs across New England. His compulsion to pursue other men's wives grows stronger and stronger as he fails to find satisfaction in his married life.
When a final affair with the local clergyman's wife culminates in a tragic and heartbreaking accident, Owen is forced to face up to his philandering and infidelity - and, as his descent into old age and impending oblivion begins, his own mortality.
John Updike was born in 1932, in hillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker, and since 1957 has lived in Massachusetts. He is the father of four children and the author of more than fifty books, including collections of short stories, poems, essays, and criticism. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize (twice), the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal. A previous collection of essays, Hugging the Shore, received the 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.