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Novel by John Updike, published in 1968.

In Tarbox, Mass. (a town like Ipswich), during the 1960s the young married set of stylish suburbanites is composed of men and women trying to find their own identities, often through finding themselves in bed with somebody else's mate. Frank and Albert Appleby and Herbert and Marcia Smith exchange partners and thus become known as The Applesmiths, while Ben and Irene Saltz, silently smarting over the community's alleged anti-Semitism, become involved with the Constantines, Eddie, a swinging airline pilot, and Carol, the town's sharpest gossip, and thus become The Saltines. Piet Hanema, a red-headed, well-built contractor and restorer of old houses, is proud of his Dutch heritage but as free and easy as any of his WASP neighbors. Among the women with whom he becomes involved is the well-bred Foxy Whitman, wife of a Boston University scientist, who becomes pregnant by Piet. She gets an abortion from the dentist Freddy Thorne, though his price for the operation is a night with Piet's pretty wife Angela. In time the couples drift apart from their marriages, their liaisons, and the town. Among them, Piet and Foxy, each divorced, later get married and move to Lexington, where they come to be accepted as just another couple in that town.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

John Updike (1932—2009) American novelist, poet, and short-story writer