john updike

A & P has divided readers for decades. A Holden Caulfield type checkout boy becomes distracted by three girls who walk into the supermarket in bathing suits. When the protagonist tries to stick up for them, is it as an attack on hypocrisy and a defender of reason, or is he just smitten because they’re semi naked?

The ambiguity is what makes this story great, simply because, life is rarely that clear cut.

John Updike was one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century. In a career spanning over 50 years, he wrote dozens of novels, short story and poetry collections.

A & P, collected in Pigeon Feathers, is one of the hundreds of Updike stories published in the New Yorker.