The Poorhouse Fair Author:John Updike "The Poorhouse Fair concerns the lives of a handful of marvelously eccentric and understandable people in a poorhouse on the undulating plains of central New Jersey. It begins on the morning of the annual Fair, an innovation of the new and very ambitious Prefect, and in the gathering of clouds the inmates sense, to their delight, the promise of ... more »cancellation because of rain.
The essence of John Updike's remarkable fiction is the revolt of the residents against the Prefect, Conner, an uprising that brilliantly etches the unceasing conflict between age and youth, dignity and patronization. In a story of mounting tensions and masterful ironies, the author conducts the reader through a score of arresting episodes, each demonstrating man's growing individuality as he grows older, and Conner's resounding failure to make people comfortable and happy who don't care for comfort and can't be happy. Conner's struggle to institutionalize old age inevitable meets the stiff opposition of those who want to individualize it. And it is no surprise that the only organization he can effect is the organization of an impromptu mutiny.
The Poorhouse Fair is a polished, thoughtful, and unconventional book that deals with the dignity of men in an uncommon habitat. It will be hailed not only for its breathtaking technique, but also for what it says so firmly and so well. It states a strong case for the old truths--faith, honesty, charity, craftsmanship--and finds its climax in a simple statement of civility and understanding."« less