Rabbit Is Rich

Rabbit Is Rich

4.7 8
by John Updike
     
 

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The hero of John Updike's Rabbit, Run (1960), ten years after the hectic events described in Rabbit Redux (1971), has come to enjoy considerable prosperity as Chief Sales Representative of Springer Motors, a Toyota agency in Brewer, Pennsylvania. The time is 1979: Skylab is falling, gas lines are lengthening, the President collapses while running

Overview

The hero of John Updike's Rabbit, Run (1960), ten years after the hectic events described in Rabbit Redux (1971), has come to enjoy considerable prosperity as Chief Sales Representative of Springer Motors, a Toyota agency in Brewer, Pennsylvania. The time is 1979: Skylab is falling, gas lines are lengthening, the President collapses while running in a marathon, and double-digit inflation coincides with a deflation of national confidence. Nevertheless, Harry Angstrom feels in good shape, ready to enjoy life at last — until his son, Nelson, returns from the West, and the image of an old love pays a visit to his lot. New characters and old populate these scenes from Rabbit's middle age, as he continues to pursue, in his erratic fashion, the rainbow of happiness.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The reviewers seemed to be under the impression that the hero was a terrible character. It's incredible! No, I think it's the most interesting American novel I've read in quite a long time"

— Mary McCarthy, interviewed in The Paris Review

"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

"...An American protest against all the attempts to impress upon us the 'healthy, life-loving and comic' as our standard for novels. It is sexy, in bad taste, violent, and basically cynical. And good luck to it."

— Angus Wilson, naming three Books of the Year in the Observer

And Rabbit Redux

"Against all odds, Rabbit Redux is a sequel that succeeds; it is in every respect uncannily superior to its distinguished predecessor and deserves to achieve even greater critical and popular acclaim."

— Brendan Gill, The New Yorker

"I can think of no stronger vindication of the claims of essentially realistic fiction than this extraordinary synthesis of the disparate elements of contemporary experience. Rabbit Redux is a great achievement, by far the most audacious and successful book Updike has written."

— Richard Locke, The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780394520872
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1981
Series:
Rabbit Quartet, #3
Pages:
480
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.70(d)

What People are saying about this

Roger Sale
Someone once said that reading a John O'Hara novel is like reading the Sears catalogue. Updike can be like that too, since once he starts on . . .the way it was, he usually goes until exhausted. So the book is too long. . . .But . . .the sentence-by-sentence writing here is, at least by Updike's lush standards, not excessive at all. . . .For me Rabbit Is Rich is the first book in which Updike has fulfilled the fabulous promise he offered with Rabbit Run and The Centaur. . . -- The New York Times

Meet the Author

John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He was graduated from Harvard College in 1954, and spent a year in England on the Knox Fellowship, at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of The New Yorker, to which he has contributed numerous short stories, poems, and book reviews. He is the author of sixteen other books of fiction and the father of two sons and two daughters. Since 1957 he has resided in Massachusetts.

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 Is Rich 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this third installment of the Rabbit series, it is 1980 and we find Harry ('Rabbit') Angstrom confronted by inflation, gas shortages, the Carter Administration's crisis of confidence, and most important of all by his son, Nelson. Nelson, who is now in his 20's, wants to work as a salesman in Rabbit's Toyota dealership, even though that would mean displacing one of the company's top salesmen. Harry feels that Nelson lacks the necessary maturity and competence for the position and wants him to return to college. To complicate matters, the dealership is also co-owned by Harry's wife, Janice, and by his mother-in-law, who inherited the firm from Rabbit's late father-in-law. The women are on Nelson's side and, of course, gang up on Rabbit. These are only a few of the many complications in this great novel. Updike further develops the Harry/Nelson father and son relationship that was begun in _Rabbit Redux_. Updike has an uncanny ability to write realistic diaglogue. I was able to get into the heart and head of Nelson, whose anguish is palpable and who desperately wants to break away from his past and to attain adult responsibility, while still immaturely clinging to both his mother and his grandmother. Nelson, thus, must not only struggle with his feelings about his very pregnant girlfriend, whom he feels it is his responsibility to marry and to support, but also with some very painful memories for which he severely blame his father. Mutual resentments are felt by both father and son. Both admit a fear that Nelson may be doomed to repeat the same mistakes made years earlier by Rabbit. The novel also realistically presents the various sexual insecutities of the average American middle-aged male. Who better represents this 'demographic type' than Harry Angstrom? Rabbit, later in the novel, discovers some very interesting things about himself in a sensitively portrayed, but unexpected sexual encounter with a friend's wife. I highly recommend _Rabbit Is Rich_ to anyone who appreciates excellent writing and rich characterizations.
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AK95 More than 1 year ago
This book is very long, probably too long, nonetheless it is enertaining from start to finish, authentic, and crafted with well thought out characters. Rabbit is a middle aged man in the best position of his entire life, yet he's still restless. When his son, Nelson, an underachieving college student, unceramoniously comes home his life only becomes more complicated. The story and narrative is a sardonic portrait of American marriage and the typical mid-life crisis. Problems that exist with the book are small ones. I know this novel won a pulitzer so I'm probably not suppose to critize the writing but I will anyhow. Some of the paragraphs are too long and bog down the rhythm of the story. Also, some of the extended sex scenes are too drawn out. He's already made his point with the sexual act, but the narrative of the procedure will just go on for another four pages or so. Regardless, this is still a story worth reading.