S. is a novel which uses the letters and tapes of a middle-aged WASP woman to chronicle her time in a Rajneesh-style Arizona ashram. While I was intrigued by the concept, I had mixed feelings about the work. The epistolary structure offered an unusually intimate view into the main character’s world, but because S. was not a woman I found very sympathetic, her monologues didn’t speak to me personally.
This book is supposedly a satire, and I will agree that it is entertaining on that level. But I do think Updike crosses the line from satire to cynicism in a number of places. Still, it’s an interesting read.