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Rabbit, Run (1960)

by John Updike

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: "Rabbit" Series (1)

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5,4371001,419 (3.58)358
Harry Angstrom was a star basketball player in high school and that was the best time of his life. Now in his mid-20s, his work is unfulfilling, his marriage is moribund, and he tries to find happiness with another woman. But happiness is more elusive than a medal, and Harry must continue to run--from his wife, his life, and from himself, until he reaches the end of the road and has to turn back.… (more)
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» See also 358 mentions

English (96)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  Hungarian (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (100)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
So, now I know I don't care for Updike. If you like Anne Tyler, I think you will like Updike.



( )
  KittyCunningham | Apr 26, 2021 |
Rabbit, Run by John Updike was first published in 1960, and I expect it had a shock value then as the main character Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom suddenly runs away from his life. He is twenty-six, married with one child and another on it’s way. He goes out to pick up his son and keeps driving. The story goes on to suggest that spoiled, selfish, irresponsible Rabbit felt trapped in his life, stuck with his alcoholic wife, and uninspired by his dead-end job. Oh boo-hoo, he should have instead learned to accept responsibility for the mess he has made for himself and stop blaming everything and everyone else for his problems.

I disliked Rabbit from the get-go, but I could not stop reading this book, I needed to know what was going to happen next. This speaks volumes about the talent of the writing. This reader wanted to know if Rabbit ever matures, gets over his high-school basketball hero days and works to make his life a success. The author excelled in setting his story against a backdrop of a changing 1950s America using songs and advertisements that evoke that post-WW II boom.

Although this is the first book in the Rabbit series, it certainly stands on it own. It is definitely a product of it’s time with it’s thoughts on what is socially acceptable, and how the women are treated but the author presents his thoughts and ideas with strong, colorful writing that brings both the story and the setting to life. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Mar 22, 2021 |
Absolutely fantastic... endlessly descriptive, but in a very controlled way. Sort of the anti-Kerouac, the pro-responsibility story resonates on a deep emotional level. ( )
  poirotketchup | Mar 18, 2021 |
I first read Rabbit, Run in 1968 when I was seventeen. This week I reread it as part of a Master Class in Fiction Writing guide developed by Adam Sexton. Chapter 4 in the text is about Description, and Rabbit, Run is the recommended text to study.

Sexton mentions in his overview that Updike was a visual artist and that becomes very apparent, especially if you read it focusing on his description. His eye for texture and light and offering up the telling detail is impressive. At times it is perhaps a little overwhelming. I’m anxious to reread the later novels to see if he toned it down some as he got older.

When I first read Rabbit, Run, I was younger than Rabbit. I read it before love, marriage, kids, in-laws. My life had barely been launched. While I can recall thinking Harry was sort of a jerk, my stronger impression as I recall was envy at his basketball prowess.

Reading it now (and having also read the other Rabbit novels) I guess I can conclude that my personal world has been stretched over the decades. When I finished the book I felt moved and sad for the whole ensemble of Rabbit’s world: his wife Janice (especially Janice), his girlfriend Ruth, the Springers and the Angstroms and Reverend Eccles and his wife and even the creepy coach Tothero.

The book is also a great snapshot of life in the 50s written in the 50s so there’s no gauzy nostalgia.
( )
  LenJoy | Mar 14, 2021 |
A book that dragged with lots of descriptions and long sentences if that is what some of them could be called. In the beginning I felt sorry for Rabbit being caught in a life that is depressing to him with his alcoholic wife. I even gave him credit for attempting to leave but changing his mind and staying in the same community. I thought there was going to be great lessons about life learned when he tried to listen to the minister and his helping the new girlfriend feeling better about herself. However his self absorption and way to solve things by running ruined it. ( )
  kshydog | Dec 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Updike, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Germeraad, R.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glaser, MiltonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oddera, BrunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
The motions of Grace,
the hardness of the heart;
external circumstances
-- Pascal, Pensee 507
Dedication
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Boys are playing basketball around a telephone pole with a backboard bolted to it.
Quotations
A serious shadow crosses her face that seems to remove her and Harry, who sees it, from the others, and takes them into that strange area of a million years ago from which they have wandered; a strange guilt pierces Harry at being here instead of there, where he never was. Ruth and Harrison across from them, touched by staccato red light, seem to smile from the heart of damnation. (p. 144, Penguin 1964 ed.)
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Harry Angstrom was a star basketball player in high school and that was the best time of his life. Now in his mid-20s, his work is unfulfilling, his marriage is moribund, and he tries to find happiness with another woman. But happiness is more elusive than a medal, and Harry must continue to run--from his wife, his life, and from himself, until he reaches the end of the road and has to turn back.

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Average: (3.58)
0.5 7
1 48
1.5 11
2 105
2.5 29
3 267
3.5 97
4 365
4.5 43
5 238

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141187832, 0141037520

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