9780449911211 / 0449911217

In the Beauty of the Lilies: A Novel


Publisher:Random House Trade Paperbacks



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About the book:

In the Beauty of the Lilies begins in 1910 and traces Gods relation to four generations of American seekers, beginning with Clarence Wilmot, a clergyman in Paterson, New Jersey. He loses his faith but finds solace at the movies, respite from the bleak facts of life, his life, gutted by Gods withdrawal. His son, Teddy, becomes a mailman who retreats from American exceptionalism, religious and otherwise, into a life of studied ordinariness. Teddy has a daughter, Esther, who becomes a movie star, an object of worship, an All-American goddess. Her neglected son, Clark, is possessed of a native Christian fervor that brings the story full circle: in the late 1980s he joins a Colorado sect called the Temple, a handful of Gods elect hastening the day of reckoning. In following the Wilmots collective search for transcendence, John Updike pulls one wandering thread from the tapestry of the American Century and writes perhaps the greatest of his later novels.

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