The Poorhouse Fair

Finalist, National Book Awards 1960 for Fiction

poorhouse fair book cover
ISBN 9780394410500
Knopf | Random House Trade Paperback
john updike author photo
John Updike

John Updike was the author of more than sixty books, eight of them collections of poetry. His novels, including The Centaur, Rabbit Is Rich,and Rabbit at Rest, won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He died in January 2009. More about this author >

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At the Diamond County Home for the Aged, the inmates prepare for the annual ritual of the Poorhouse Fair, a summer celebration at which the old and infirm sell their produce on stalls to the people of the local town. Bitter, resentful and edging towards senility, the elderly residents of the Home take pride every year in the responsibility and self-respect they gain from this one day. But when the fair goes less well than the old folks had hoped, they are in no doubt who to blame: Conner, the new prefect of the home. Together, they begin to revolt against the younger man, and reassert their own independence.

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