Rabbit at Rest

Rabbit at Rest

4.3 8
by John Updike
     
 

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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Howells Medal, and the National Book Critics Circle Award
 
In John Updike’s fourth and final novel about Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, the hero has acquired a Florida condo, a second grandchild, and a troubled, overworked heart. His son, Nelson, is behaving erratically; his daughter-in-law, Pru

Overview

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Howells Medal, and the National Book Critics Circle Award
 
In John Updike’s fourth and final novel about Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, the hero has acquired a Florida condo, a second grandchild, and a troubled, overworked heart. His son, Nelson, is behaving erratically; his daughter-in-law, Pru, is sending him mixed signals; and his wife, Janice, decides in midlife to return to the world of work. As, through the year of 1989, Reagan’s debt-ridden, AIDS-plagued America yields to that of the first George Bush, Rabbit explores the bleak terrain of late middle age, looking for reasons to live and opportunities to make peace with a remorselessly accumulating past.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post Book World
Brilliant...It must be read.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Harry ``Rabbit'' Angstrom, morbidly depressed, overweight and living with wife Janice in a Florida retirement community, recovers from a heart attack and is led astray by his libido one last time. ``Updike is razor-sharp and mordantly funny,'' said PW. ``If this novel is in some respects an elegy to Rabbit's bewildered existence, it is also a poignant, humorous, instructive guidebook to the aborted American dream.'' The book took a Pulitzer Prize. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Harry ``Rabbit'' Angstrom is back in this final installment of Updike's four-decade chronicle. Now 55 and semi-retired, Harry spends half the year in Florida with wife Janice while Nelson, their son, runs the family business. Yet Harry's ``golden years'' are far from happy: he has ballooned to 230 pounds and suffers from angina. Janice is becoming increasingly independent. Nelson's cocaine habit is bankrupting Springer Motors. Harry sees decline on all sides, and the novel's great strength is how Updike links Harry's decline to that of his country, giving his sense of loss an elegiac feel. Despite some flaws--excessive length, a weak characterization of Nelson--the novel measures up well against the rest of the series. This is the saddest and deepest of the ``Rabbit'' novels, an aching portrait of America at the end of the Reagan era. Certain to be in demand. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/90.-- Lawrence Rungren, Bedford Free P.L., Mass.
Carol Joyce Oates
Rabbit at Rest is certainly the most brooding, the most demanding, the most concentrated of John Updike's longer novels....One begins virtually to share, with the doomed Harry Angstrom, a panicky sense of the body's terrible finitude, and of its place in a world of other, competing bodies: ''You fill a slot for a time and then move out; that's the decent thing to do: make room.'' ....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 our most gifted American realists. -- The New York Times, September 30, 1990
From the Publisher

“Rich and rewarding . . . Updike is working at the full height of his powers.”—The New York Times
 
“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 precisian’s prose and his intimately attentive yet cold eye is a master.”—Joyce Carol Oates, The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307744104
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/26/2010
Series:
Rabbit Quartet , #4
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
608
Sales rank:
300,471
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

John Updike was born in Shillington, Pennsylvania, in 1932. 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. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and the William Dean Howells Medal. In 2007 he received the Gold Medal for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. John Updike died in January 2009.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
March 18, 1932
Date of Death:
January 27, 2009
Place of Birth:
Shillington, Pennsylvania
Place of Death:
Beverly Farms, MA
Education:
A.B. in English, Harvard University, 1954; also studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford, England

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Rabbit at Rest 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The unparelled powers of Updike are on full display in Rabbit at Rest. His uncanny ability to extrapolate fascinating apsects from ostensibly mundane, day-to-day life never ceases to amaze. Rabbit at Rest focuses on the state of America under George Bush, Rabbit's relationship with his son, Nelson,(a product of the 70s that Rabbit has never, and will never understand), and his continual search to find something in life that made him feel as important as he was as a high school basketball star. Prurience and infidelity, of course, are firmly entrenched themes, but Updike presents them in a way that makes you understand the point of view of all parties involved. Rabbit at Rest is the densest of the Rabbit novels, and the writing style probably the most ornate. But for anyone who appreciates the power and beauty of words, Rabbit at Rest should be read. The ending is one of the greatest pieces of contemporary literature that has been create. Not sure if it equals Rabbit Redux, but it's quite close.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I believe this is the best of the four Rabbit novels. It presents an exceptional view of the aged Rabbit as he endures retirement with his family. Updike forces you too look at the world in such a unique way in this novel and explores the Reagan years in such an engaging and troubling way. You will think about this book long after you finish it.
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