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Rabbit is Rich Paperback – 30 Oct 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; 2nd Revised edition edition (30 Oct. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140249435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140249439
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,699,844 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Updike was born in 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania. He attended Shillington High School, Harvard College and the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at Oxford, where he spent a year on a Knox Fellowship. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of the New Yorker, to which he contributed numerous poems, short stories, essays and book reviews. After 1957 he lived in Massachusetts until his death.

John Updike's first novel, The Poorhouse Fair, was published in 1959. It was followed by Rabbit, Run, the first volume of what have become known as the Rabbit books, which John Banville described as 'one of the finest literary achievements to have come out of the US since the war'. Rabbit is Rich (1981) and Rabbit at Rest (1990) were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Other novels by John Updike include Marry Me, The Witches of Eastwick, which was made into a major feature film, Memories of the Ford Administration, Brazil, In the Beauty of the Lilies, Toward the End of Time and Villages. He has written a number of volumes of short stories, and a selection entitled Forty Stories, taken from The Same Door, Pigeon Feathers, The Music School and Museums and Women, is published in Penguin, as is the highly acclaimed The Afterlife and Other Stories. His criticism and his essays, which first appeared in magazines such as The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books, have been collected in five volumes. Golf Dreams, a collection of his writings on golf, has also been published. His Collected Poems 1953-1993 brings together almost all the poems from five previous volumes, including 'Hoping for a Hoopoe', 'Telephone Poles' and 'Tossing and Turning', as well as seventy poems previously unpublished in book form. The last books of his to be published by Hamish Hamilton were My Father's Tears and Other Stories, and Endpoint and Other Poems. He died in January 2009.


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About the Author

John Updike was born in 1932, in Shillington, Pennsylvania. From 1955 to 1957 he was a member of the staff of the New Yorker, to which he has contributed poems, short stories, essays and reviews. Since 1957 he has lived in Massachusetts. His novels have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Howells Medal. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
running out of gas, Rabbit Angstrom thinks as he stands behind the summer-dusty windows of the Springer Motors display room watching the traffic go by on Route 111, traffic somehow thin and scared compared to what it used to be. Read the first page
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nina-Jo Rees on 11 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
Updike shows he is master of his subject and style here. If 'Rabbit Redux' lost its way a little after the critical triumph of 'Rabbit, Run', then here he is back on track. From the first page, with its focus on the American car industry of the 70's and early 80's, a subject that could be boring and off-putting as an opening to a novel, his mastery of both language and the subject on all levels,factual and metaphorical, is evident. The subject of the book is the mid-century male American. Rabbit is a man of limited education, heading up a Toyota dealership in Brewer, ( representing small town America), and well on his way to getting rich. He has plenty of earthly 'bread' but no spiritual sustenance whatever. He has appetites for life, sex, food and booze- all of which he satisfies readily and copiously, but his spiritual hunger is both unsatisfied and unacknowledged. Updike shows us an America getting rich as Rabbit does. The heyday of the huge gas-guzzling American car is just passing while new smaller models quickly take their place. We see the natural world continually eroded and destroyed by concrete: new roads, cheap malls and tacky ribbon developments. Rubbish from fast-food outlets and shops blows across the lots and open spaces, where odd trees endure as reminders of an older Brewer, fast disappearing and with it a way of life which, it is implied, was richer in terms of spiritual and community values. The town is evoked in layered details, where we see the older world built upon by the new, mirroring social change as well as changes in Rabbit and more distantly, the Republic itself.

Updike shows us Rabbit's friends and family as devoid of self-awareness and corrupted and alienated from their better selves, just as he is.
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By anozama on 23 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Describing Rabbit's experiences of American life in the late 70's and early 80's, Updike treats us to a giant banquet of a book.(Actually a series of books: I read Rabbit is Rich and then this one, virtually together)
Hundreds of pages full of sumptuously meticulous observations which convey so vividly the hero's inner narrative - all the details that in normal life remain undisclosed. Men like Rabbit don't tend to share a lot of their intimate emotions, but, in this glorious novel, they are expertly articulated for our exquisite delight.

His irritations, insecurities, deceptions, doubts, preoccupations, perceptions, loves, lusts are all here. As are his likes & dislikes, threats to his ego & boosts to it, successes & failures, sources of pride & causes of worry, aspirations & disappointments, satisfactions & frustrations . Tensions, rivalries, habits, comforts. Secret longings, secret fears, secret memories. The subtle characteristics of his companions, the unique experiences their company brings. The environmental cues which surround him, some inspiring, some depressing, but most in between, mundane yet evocative.

Rabbit is certainly rich - his life, like all our lives, is chock full of poignant moments, nuances and insights that we never normally express. We rely on great authors like Updike to reassure us how rich indeed we all are.
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We've moved on to the late 1970s and Rabbit is middle-aged, reasonably comfortable and reasonably affluent. He's finally living the true American dream. The dramatic canvass of RABBIT IS RICH is smaller than that of the second in the series, and is a return to the domestic angst of the first. But it's none the less potent for that. Harry Angstrom has finally settled down. He's left his sometimes extreme behaviour behind him. Now he's primarily concerned with the more quotidian aspects of life, worrying as he does about his marriage, his business, his wayward son, and his possible extra-marital fathering of another child. He's still conflicted, although his moral dilemmas are now closer to home. He's still flawed, but now he seems to be gaining some wisdom. Once more this is everyman stuff written in Updike's typically lean, sharp, and insightful prose. Another essential slice of small-town Americana that packs a universal message.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 10 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
Here we are back with Rabbit, and I found it a slow start after Rabbit Redux. But it all feels right - Rabbit has taken over his father-in-law's business, has moved back in with his wife and is living with his mother-in-law.
As can be expected, Rabbit is not happy, and his realisation that Nelson (his son) is encroaching on his "territory" makes him angry. A mid-life crisis? No, Rabbit has had too many crises; this is just Rabbit kicking against mortality.
His golf club cronies provide light relief, but the set piece involves them on a Caribbean vacation and more than justifies the slowness of the start. As ever, Updike's sensuous use of prose is beautiful, over-rich but it works for me.
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Format: Paperback
For me this is the best of the "Rabbit" novels , it's an absolute masterpiece , so perfectly written and with rich , believable characters . Of course , all 4 in the series are superb so it's a thin line....
This just shades it above "Rabbit Redux" and takes it's place as one of the best novels ever written and a firm contender in the fabled Great American Novel stakes .
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