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Rabbit Angstrom: The Four Novels (Rabbit Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, Rabbit at Rest) (Everyman's Library)

Overview

When we first met him in Rabbit, Run (1960), the book that established John Updike as a major novelist, Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom is playing basketball with some boys in an alley in Pennsylvania during the tail end of the Eisenhower era, reliving for a moment his past as a star high school athlete. Athleticism of a different sort is on display throughout these four magnificent novels—the athleticism of an imagination possessed of the ability to lay bare, with a seemingly ...
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Overview

When we first met him in Rabbit, Run (1960), the book that established John Updike as a major novelist, Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom is playing basketball with some boys in an alley in Pennsylvania during the tail end of the Eisenhower era, reliving for a moment his past as a star high school athlete. Athleticism of a different sort is on display throughout these four magnificent novels—the athleticism of an imagination possessed of the ability to lay bare, with a seemingly effortless animal grace, the enchantments and disenchantments of life.

Updike revisited his hero toward the end of each of the following decades in the second half of this American century; and in each of the subsequent novels, as Rabbit, his wife, Janice, his son, Nelson, and the people around them grow, these characters take on the lineaments of our common existence. In prose that is one of the glories of contemporary literature, Updike has chronicled the frustrations and ambiguous triumphs, the longuers, the loves and frenzies, the betrayals and reconciliations of our era. He has given us our representative American story.

This Rabbit Angstrom volume is comprised of the following novels: Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit is Rich; and Rabbit at Rest.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
FROM THE INTRODUCTION BY THE AUTHOR written especially for this edition:
“The character of Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom was for me a way in-a ticket to the America all around me … [These four related novels] became a kind of running report on the state of my hero and his nation . . . A some point between the second and third of the series, I began to visualize four completed novels that might together make a single coherent volume, a mega-novel. Now, thanks to Everyman's Library, this volume exists, titled, as I had long hoped, with the name of the protagonist, an everyman who, like all men, was unique and mortal.”

“Taken together, this quartet of novels has given its readers a wonderfully vivid portrait of one Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom . . . The books have also created a Kodachrome-sharp picture of American life . . . from the somnolent 50s . . . into the uncertainties of the 80s.”
—THE NEW YORK TIMES

“The being that most illuminates the Rabbit quartet is not finally Harry Angstrom himself but the world through which he moves in his slow downward slide, meticulously recorded by one of the most gifted American realists . . . The Rabbit novels, for all their grittiness, constitute John Updike's surpassingly eloquent valentine to his country.”
—Joyce Carol Oates, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679444596
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Series: Rabbit Quartet
  • Pages: 1568
  • Sales rank: 296,092
  • Product dimensions: 5.29 (w) x 8.29 (h) x 2.06 (d)

Meet 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. He was the author of more than fifty books, including collections of short stories, poems, essays, and criticism. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize (twice), the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Award, and the Howells Medal. He died in 2009.

Biography

With an uncommonly varied oeuvre that includes poetry, criticism, essays, short stories, and novels, two-time Pulitzer Prize winner John Updike helped to change the face of late-20th-century American literature.

Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Updike graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 1954. Following a year of study in England, he joined the staff of The New Yorker, establishing a relationship with the magazine that continued until his death in January, 2009. For more than 50 years, he lived in two small towns in Massachusetts that inspired the settings for several of his stories.

In 1958, Updike's first collection of poetry was published. A year later, he made his fiction debut with The Poorhouse Fair. But it was his second novel, 1960's Rabbit, Run, that forged his reputation and introduced one of the most memorable characters in American fiction. Former small-town basketball star Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom struck a responsive chord with readers and critics alike and catapulted Updike into the literary stratosphere.

Updike would revisit Angstrom in 1971, 1981, and 1990, chronicling his hapless protagonist's jittery journey into undistinguished middle age in three melancholy bestsellers: Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, and Rabbit at Rest. A concluding novella, "Rabbit Remembered," appeared in the 2001 story collection Licks of Love.

Although autobiographical elements appear in the Rabbit books, Updike's true literary alter ego was not Harry Angstrom but Harry Bech, a famously unproductive Jewish-American writer who starred in his own story cycle. In between -- indeed, far beyond -- his successful series, Updike went on to produce an astonishingly diverse string of novels. In addition, his criticism and short fiction became popular staples of distinguished literary publications.

Good To Know

Updike first became entranced by reading when he was a young boy growing up on an isolated farm in Pennsylvania. Afflicted with psoriasis and a stammer, he escaped his self-consciousness by immersing himself in drawing, writing, and reading.

An accomplished artist, Updike accepted a one-year fellowship to study painting at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts at Oxford University. He decided to attend Harvard University because he was a big fan of the school's humor magazine, The Harvard Lampoon.

One of the most respected authors of the 20th century, Updike won every major literary prize in America, including the Guggenheim Fellow, the Rosenthal Award, the National Book Award in Fiction, the O. Henry Prize, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Union League Club Abraham Lincoln Award, the National Arts Club Medal of Honor, and the National Medal of the Arts.

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    1. Also Known As:
      John Hoyer Updike (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 18, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Shillington, Pennsylvania
    1. Date of Death:
      January 27, 2009
    2. Place of Death:
      Beverly Farms, MA

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2005

    Rabbit Superb

    I've read this book and loved it! The writing style is a masterpiece of skill. The meganovel depicts detailed intricacies of the everyday American until retirement age. This text will be a standard for American fiction well into the next 2 centuries in English Literature college curriculums along with the works of John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2004

    The masterwork of Master Updike

    This is the heart of the Updike oeuvre. It captures midcentury American realities with an exactitude and brilliance unequaled. A tremendous eye is at work here observing but also a remarkable ear listening to and echoing the music and speech of American everyday life. Much of this of Updike is not my world, certainly the world of adult betrayals , but it is impossible not to recognize in it an authentic depiction of so much of what America proclaimed and advertised itself to be in his time. Updike catches and is attuned to changes in social reality.He is a tremendous learner, a man whose interest in so many different areas of life and mind reflect themselves in the intelligence of his fiction. As for his depiction of relationships he describes often worlds of feeling I do not really know. I must admit that for me anyway there is often a sadness and sense of emptiness in reading of small abandonments and betrayals. But anyone who wishes to know American fiction of the twentieth century , and often American fiction at its best has no choice but to read the Rabbit works and confront this most American of American worlds.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 23, 2009

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