The third and fourth novel in John Updike’s acclaimed quartet of Rabbit books–now in one marvelous volume.
RABBIT IS RICH
Winner of the American Book Award and
the National Book Critics Circle Award
“Dazzlingly reaffirms Updike’s place as master chronicler of the spiritual maladies and very earthly pleasure of the Middle-American male.”
“A splendid achievement!”
–The New York Times
RABBIT AT REST
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and
the National Book Critics Circle Award
“Brilliant . . . It must be read. It is the best novel about America to come out of America for a very, very long time.”
–The Washington Post Book World
“Powerful . . . John Updike with his precision’s prose and his intimately attentive yet cold eye is a master.”
–The New York Times Book Review ... Read more
Customer Reviews (5)
A Stunning Literary Accomplishment
A remarkable pair of novels.You will care for Rabbit deeply by the end of the series, despite (or perhaps because of) his relatable faults.Updike paints such a detailed picture of Rabbit's life, but somehow the story transcends the details and speaks of American Life in general.Truly mesmerizing prose - get ready to underline a lot of passages and dog ear a lot of pages!
Rabbit wasn't particularly loveable, but I'll miss him
The third and fourth books in Updike's series of books tracing the life of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom are probably the best of the bunch, with the final, "Rabbit at Rest" being the most engaging of the four. In them, Rabbit experiences the satisfaction of having "made it" in his forties, comfortably relaxing with his new country club buddies and swinging lifestyle (though the world and the people around him continue to flummox and puzzle him). In book four, he's in his mid fifties and feeling tired and adrift. He feels that death looms around the corner, just over the horizon. Loved ones die and his own shiftless child discomfits him. The reality of life's finality soaks his thoughts and stalks him. Things aren't helped by a body that seems to be turning against him. There are a lot of melodramatic elements to the final novel, some that startle or shock and some that made me yell at the characters in mid-dialogue. (Guess that's how you know when a book has grabbed you.) At the end of Rabbit's life (and four books), what did it all mean? Answer that, and you've delivered the punchline that authors of great fiction have always striven to reveal.
A Long Diary of a Nobody.
This is another Mr Pooter type story, although Rabbit is no Charles Pooter. I waded through all four books just because I am a big fan of John Updike. His descriptive writing has no equal in modern literature, he could even describe watching paint drying on the wall and make it sound interesting, but Harry Angstrom is not worth writing about. A completely useless character with his brains in his genitals which the author describes, along with other genitals male and female throughout the quartet in minute detail. Others have outlinedthe story such as it is, so I won't go into that; basketball hero at school is the protagonists only claim to fame, then car salesman, marries bosses daughter, one living child a useless drug addict; plain, considered cerebrally slow wife who outshines him in the end; gradual decline into ill health and death. His life does not make a ripple like millions of others. Depressing, definitely not uplifting books in any way. The nostalgic trips down memory lane through the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties may be entertaining for some, I just found them even more depressing.
John Updike's writing as usual scores high marks for his keen observation and ability to put every strand of hair, its length, thickness, quality, color, brilliance, health, age, tractability, durability, its relation to other hairs, and its owner into words. As I have indicated in another post, the world lost a master when he died, but these four books were a drag for me simply because I disliked and was not in the least bit interested in the man the books are about, or his family. I am giving the book four stars for the writing but only two for the story.
I reread Rabbit Run and Redux after 25+ years and was so glad I did.I remembered enjoying them way back in college, but probably didn't "get" them the way I do at age 51.I've since been reading all of Updike's novels and short stories ... he's an American master and the Rabbit novels more than prove it.
God's Gift to Humankind
These Rabbit books may not rank by academic standards with the likes of James Joyce or Marcel Proust, but by any other standard, they may be said to be the absolute best there is. Updike can be unsatisfying - there are pieces that I have had trouble getting through, but one comes to accept the fact that writers run in streaks like baseball players. In this series, Updike was having one of those incredibly productive 'seasons', and as a result we have this rich, hilarious, moving set of books which improve from volume to volume. By the time one gets to "Rabbit Is Rich," Updike is writing at his best. What is so great here is that one can live in Rabbit's world with him, especially if you remember the Carter years, the arrival on these shores of Toyota, and the odd sense of anxiety that grew in the land as a result of that and other signs of national decay. Updike sees it all. Rabbit is rich, but Rabbit is not happy. His sex life isn't what it used to be, but he still gets a kick out of looking at women's breasts, enjoys contemplating the color of a stranger's body hair, can't help noticing little perfections and imperfections on his daughter-in-laws legs. His disappointments preoccupy him, but his memory of moments of happiness is keen, so we bask in his nostalgia. Rabbit is especially hilarious on the subject of America's youth, especially that of his son, who has bad taste in just about everything. Rabbit plays the maimed hero, triumphant yet oddly unmanned.
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