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Rabbit, Run Paperback


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Rabbit, Run + Rabbit Redux + Rabbit Is Rich
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reissue edition (August 27, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449911659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449911655
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 3.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (293 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Brilliant and poignant . . . By his compassion, clarity of insight, and crystal-bright prose, [John Updike] makes Rabbit’s sorrow his and our own.”—The Washington Post
 
“The power of the novel comes from a sense, not absolutely unworthy of Thomas Hardy, that the universe hangs over our fates like a great sullen hopeless sky. There is real pain in the book, and a touch of awe.”—Norman Mailer, Esquire
 
“A lacerating story of loss and of seeking, written in prose that is charged with emotion but is always held under impeccable control.”—Kansas City Star

From the Publisher

I read Rabbit, Run when I was in high school (and it wasn't even a school assignment!). Twenty years later (at least!), three very vivid scenes from that book still pop into my head from time to time. The first is the used-car lot, where Rabbit Angstrom, the former basketball star, works for his father-in-law. The second scene is in a very red Chinese restaurant that had changed over from a French restaurant only the week before. Rabbit is there with his old coach and two women that are not their wives, and they drink daiquiris and whiskey sours. This restaurant could have been (and was) in my small town. The third scene is the most harrowing, and I've repeated it as a cautionary tale to young mothers for years, telling the story as if it had happened to someone I know. Janice, Rabbit's wife, who slugs alcohol throughout her pregnancy, is drunk and bathing her newborn baby when something terrible happens. I won't ruin it by telling you more. I read hundreds of books a year, both for my job and for pleasure, so the fact that parts of this book are so indelibly etched in my mind is a testament to the talent and genius of John Updike.
P.S. all of the other books in the Rabbit series are equally unforgettable.
--Maureen O'Neal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in Oxford, England, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker, and since 1957 lived in Massachusetts. He was the father of four children and the author of more than fifty books, including collections of short stories, poems, essays, and criticism. His novels won the Pulitzer Prize (twice), the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal. A previous collection of essays, Hugging the Shore, received the 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. John Updike died on January 27, 2009, at the age of 76.

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Customer Reviews

Reading this book is an exciting experience and I recommend it highly.
"jb_ashbury"
Updike writes with great insights, paints beautiful and descriptive prose and some passages are quite comical.
BrokenArrow
Often though, it is unnecessary description that only adds details to a book without a story.
P. Barrett Coleman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

133 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on January 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom was a high school superstar only a handful of years ago. Now he is a young married father, trapped in the suburban 60's, unhappy with a cluttered house, a drunken wife, and a son who will never be the athlete he was. Will this former basketball star find a way to make his life better, or will he run like a rabbit? The title says it all and Harry Angstrom does indeed run whenever things don't go his way.

Leaving the house to pick up his son, he impulsively drives from his Pennsylvania home to West Viriginia. He wants to run to the sunny shores of Florida to live the life he feels he deserves. Surely a man like Rabbit deserves more in life, or so he imagines. Unable to complete this journey, he runs to his former coach, a tired and washed-up man who introduces him to a part-time prostitute. Rabbit moves in with Ruth that very night and they begin a relationship they flaunt and thus humiliate his very pregnant wife and both sets of parents.

Is there an ounce of unselfishness in Rabbit? The reader may think so when he returns to his wife the night she goes into labor. Their reunion is bittersweet and because in large part of Rabbit's inability to see beyond his own needs, their reunion burst apart in a senseless tragedy that is horrific but so beautifully written the reader is glued to the page hoping against hope this terrible thing is not happening.

Will Rabbit be able to grow up and realize he is no longer the high school hero? Will he be able to comfort his wife, to provide a home for her and his children? Will he forsake Ruth, the hooker who accepts him as he is but is now pregnant with his child? In which direction will Rabbit run this time?
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Douglas S. Wood VINE VOICE on June 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a Great Book - it must be - the NYT and other literary experts say so. Rabbit's life is awful - his wife's a drunk, his job sucks, nothing is really what he thought life would be. He tries to run away and fails at that too. According to Time magazine, Rabbit Angstrom is "an unflinchingly authentic specimen of American manhood". Yikes! Let's hope not - but maybe there is more truth in it than one likes to admit.

It's hard not to recommend reading this book even though reading it is really not an enjoyable experience. Rabbit evoked powerful emotions in this reader - especially anger and depression; maybe a little anxiety. You are almost guaranteed to feel worse after you read this book - especially if you can identify with any part Angstrom's angst. On the other hand, the mature reader (er, middle-aged) who has experienced the fullness of life's sorrows may sort of shrug at Rabbit as if to say 'what did you expect from life? Pull yourself together, son.'

Read at your own risk.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette Klein on April 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, John Updike's monumental "everyman" creation has reached middle age, and we find him ten years after the previous book comfortably ensconced in his mother-in-law's home, running Springer Motors for her and Janice, and actually in love with his wife at last. The Angstroms have achieved the American dream and are even the center of their own little clique at a country club established for the nouveau riche.

If you remember the Carter era, gas shortages, Cheryl Ladd replacing Farrah Fawcett in "Charlie's Angels" and Toyota's "Oh, what a feeling!" commercials, you will love this look back at America in 1979 and into the early 80's.

A fatter, richer Rabbit dabbles in gold and silver, plays golf, and wages war with his son Nelson, now a student at Kent State. When Nelson drops out of college and returns home, Rabbit says, "I like having Nelson in the house. It's great to have an enemy. Sharpens your senses." Nelson is the worst of Rabbit, scared and running, torn between two women, impregnating and marrying one while too young to handle the responsibility, and taking off.

Rabbit, though outwardly-satisfied and enjoying his affluent life, has never ceased mourning for what he cannot have. A young girl who enters his Toyota dealership reminds him so much of himself and Ruth, his lover from RABBIT, RUN, that he is convinced she is the daughter he never knew and is restless until he can confront Ruth about her. Janice, on the other hand, has matured into a suburban wife, playing tennis and lolling about the country club pool and in general convincing Rabbit to admit that the decade past has taught her more than it has taught him.

The secondary characters in this installment are brilliant.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on April 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
I always find it interesting that in a lot of extended series of novels, the first book tends to be compact and to the point, while later novels tend to be more sprawling and expanded. Glancing over my line of Updike's Rabbit novels, of which this is the first, that seems to be the case, but time will tell whether those later books successfully trade the taut intensity of this novel for a more spacious feel. The Rabbit novels take up four books, all tracing the life of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, a man growing up in the latter part of the twentieth century, with each book taking place in a different decade, highlighting not only the changes in Harry but the changes in the country itself as it winds through the crazy years of the 1900's. This book takes place in the early fifties or late sixties and introduces us to the man himself, Rabbit, who does his best to fulfill the verb embedded in the title and run as far as he can. Harry feels trapped in his marriage, with a three year old already present and his wife heavily pregnant and drinking all the time, he takes a look at his dreary life and wigs out, trying to drive as far away as he can before coming back and attempting to find himself, with increasingly flailing results. His quests lead him to encounter a priest, a prostitute, an old coach and his parents and in-laws, all of whom have advice and none of which seem to have the right advice. So Harry tries to forge his own way but that might not be right either.Read more ›
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