Was anything written, said or done to mark the tenth anniversary of the death of American novelist, poet, art critic, and essayist John Hoyer Updike, who passed away from lung cancer in early 2009? If there was, I must have missed it; if not, it seems like an omission, but one that is revealing of our age.

I clearly remember the day John Updike died, a JFK moment, for me. Lying in bed watching the BBC World News channel, idly following the ticker at the bottom of the screen, as soon as I saw the name appear, I knew the rest. A private man, Updike maintained a dignified low profile, (“Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face”, after all). No other explanation for his appearance in the news made sense.

I had that punch in the gut, time stands still feeling you get when something important happens, the import of which you cannot immediately process. I had to go out for a walk to clear my head. I’m not the sentimental type, and I’ve never been a fan, of anyone particularly, but I felt shaken, abandoned even. And the feeling lasted for days; Updike had that effect on me.