In his delightfully candid introduction, John Updike gives us a glimpse of his early days as a writer, sending out his first short stories to THE NEW YORKER. He also explains his rationale for arranging this collection thematically, reflecting phases of life from Olinger Stories through Married Life to Single Life. These extraordinarily evocative stories evoke the generation bom in small town America during the Depression and growing up in a world where the old sexual morality was turned around and material comforts were easily had. Yet, as these stories reflect so acutely, the upheavals were unsettling, and Updike chronicles all the telling moments of the joys and the pain. In describing how he wrote these stories in a small rented, smoke-filled office In Ispwich, MA, he says: "I felt I was packaging something as delicately pervasive as smoke, one box after another, in that room, where my only social duty was to tell the truth, that is, to describe mundane things so closely as to reveal their beauty." A magnificent book that will be a treasure for Updike fans and a wonderful introduction for those just discovering his work.