Words: motile, adj.

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
FRANK KERMODE, in the London Review of Books, has caught up with Bech at Bay by John Updike, whom he calls "alive, fertile and motile". One might think this a hangover from Kermode's structuralist phase, but it is a zoological term - able to move; presumably that is Kermode's sense rather than the psychological one - somebody who reacts to motor imagery rather than auditory or visual. Updike is the supreme chronicler of sight and sound, a dextrous vocabulary to hand.

Kermode surmises that this is the last of Bech, "the funhouse distortion of his inventor", but, no! the latest issue of the New Yorker has a new story with such phrases as "her livid nipples" and "toward dawn there was a prolonged bright ruckus that must have been Buffalo".