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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse redux!
`Rabbit Redux` is the second in Updike's quartet of novels chronicling the life and times of America as seen through the eyes of everyman Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom. Written - as with the other three - at the tale end of one decade (here, the 1960s) and published at the beginning of the next, Redux finds its eponymous anti-hero in suitably chaotic circumstances: his wife has...
Published on 10 Sep 2008 by Demob Happy

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2.0 out of 5 stars Dust bunny
I dragged my sorry ass through this miserable book only because I'd bought the series of four and had already read the first. Otherwise, I would have given up very early on. I found myself skipping quite a bit, particularly the scenes which were used as excuses to espouse and contradict political views in a very unliterary and downright clumsy fashion. I have never...
Published 17 days ago by wordsandpictures


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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse redux!, 10 Sep 2008
This review is from: Rabbit Redux (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
`Rabbit Redux` is the second in Updike's quartet of novels chronicling the life and times of America as seen through the eyes of everyman Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom. Written - as with the other three - at the tale end of one decade (here, the 1960s) and published at the beginning of the next, Redux finds its eponymous anti-hero in suitably chaotic circumstances: his wife has left him for another man, he shacks up with a promiscuous teenage runaway, and her friend, a black radical named Skeeter, moves in with them.

Whereas `Rabbit, Run' was virtually perspiring with dank verisimilitude - all-too queasily human and corporeal - Redux comes across as a kind of maddening metaphorical play. Whereas Rabbit's first adventures concerned intimate, character-driven themes, this second novel is a more representational scenario that reflects the upheaval of the generation. Social dysfunction, free love and black power literally invade Rabbit's smallville suburban address, turning his house into a theatre of the late-1960s psyche.

While Redux doesn't always ring true as a credible study of character, it's air of volatility and hysteria capture the spirit of the period, in which the civil rights movement and the dismantlement of the conservative values of the 1950s were reaching a fever pitch. Whereas `Rabbit, Run' was conspicuously apolitical, Redux is almost all politics, with large sections of the book played out in Rabbit's living room like some kind of deranged allegorical play. Harry Angstrom is still rather passive, buffeted by the events that befall him, but this time he goes along with the trip. Despite losing his job, his house and his wife - albeit temporarily - Rabbit gets a necessary dose of the freedom of the times, hence the redux (from the Latin meaning "brought back, restored") of the title. Profane, provocative and almost pornographic, it is a credit to Updike's writing that this is also intensely imaginative and occasionally beautiful.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Dust bunny, 8 Dec 2014
This review is from: Rabbit Redux (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I dragged my sorry ass through this miserable book only because I'd bought the series of four and had already read the first. Otherwise, I would have given up very early on. I found myself skipping quite a bit, particularly the scenes which were used as excuses to espouse and contradict political views in a very unliterary and downright clumsy fashion. I have never skipped anything in a novel before in my life. Boring, boring, boring, devoid of subtlety and took me out of what little story there was.
The characters are awful and I didn't care what happened to them. The misogyny is even worse than that of 'Rabbit, Run', the language and attitude making me feel quite sick more than once.
I bought these books on the strength of having been impressed by Updike in the past. Happily, I have just started 'Rabbit is Rich' and am finding the writing there much closer to the quality I expect of him. The misogyny is still there, but at least it's much better written misogyny! One should be grateful for small mercies, I suppose, and the fact that Updike matured into a writer that left his early writing self in the dust.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rabbit stopped running!, 3 Oct 2013
By 
Joao Cardeira Jorge "A Bad Man" (Lisbon, Portugal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rabbit Redux (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
The second in the Updike novels following the life of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, "Rabbit Redux" is a flawed masterpiece. Rabbit continues an amazingly compelling character, a kind of car crash, a disaster that fascinates you in the beauty of its tragedy. Ten years after "Rabbit Runs", we meet Harry living a quiet and dull life with his wife and child. Yes, Harry chose the "honorable" road, living the American dream, fulfilling his responsibilities just like moral orders, just like a "good man" should. Only now, Rabbit is a man out of his time. The world betrayed him, the values by which he was told to act have changed and a horrible truth has come out. It was all a lie. Nothing matters. In a way Rabbit was the first rebel, ten years before, but his character flaw prevented him from going all the way. He was too coward to fight "the power" and went back and followed the rules. Only now, the rules are gone and Rabbit is a sad little man, with a lousy job, a loveless family and all the fight and spirit gone from him. He's cynical and bitter, refusing as always to accept any guilt. Its the world, you see, not him! He could have been a "contender" but he had to be the family man. The sad and pathetic truth is that Rabbit is just too weak to live life.
In the first book, no matter how despicable and self centered he was, at least he took a shot, tried to reach that "something" worth living for, even if he didn't quite know what it was or where he would find it.
In "Rabbit Redux", Rabbit is dead and Harry is a sad, pathetic monster, afraid to leave his shell, a shadow of his former self, devoid of joy or will, going through the motions and letting others, "the world" take charge of his destiny. He's already dead.
When his wife leaves him for another man and he's left to care for their son, he's happy enough to let her go. He has no fight left in him. A man in a world with no rules and no reason to live for. He uses his own son as an excuse to stay "dead", immovable is his pitiful excuse of existence.
Its Jill, a white teenager who ran away from a "rich" home and "Skeeter", a young black man, back from Vietnam and filled with hate and insurgency against "the system" that provide the spark of life that Harry so desperately needed. Along with Nelson, his 12 year old son, Harry and Jill and Skeeter form their own microcosm of their time. The black fighting oppression through any means necessary, the rich white kid rebelling against the status quo and trying to change the world, the next generation that would live in the world being created at that very moment and the white guy completely out of touch, left behind, needing lessons to adapt to the new values or worse, to the lack of them.
The man at the center of it all is not so much Rabbit Angstrom but John Updike. Updike is more than ever, Rabbit. You sense, through his writing, his effort to make sense of what is happening outside his pages. You sense his perplexity and more than anything a bitterness and disapproval. Skeeter, as a spokesperson for his "movement" is exaggerated in his hatred and lack of any redeeming quality to the point of almost being cartoonish. Jill, as an avatar of the young privileged is portrayed as misguided, innocent and naive and a victim of "the movement". Clearly Updike had taken a side in the conflict and he does his best to show why! What happens is that the novel is far too preachy and as a result less "human". As a picture of its time it fails because its so far from impartial you start to question its message. Rabbit's life suddenly takes a back seat and the book starts to drag with page after page about race and sex and its all too pretentious and tiresome and so very tedious. Updike's writing style doesn't help of course. He's far too "wordy" and pedantic and drags in more than a few pages, over complicating to the point of being obtuse.
Fortunately he can write some truly raw, compelling characters, when he's not busy sharing his doctrine. Janice, Harry's wife is an excellent character, with her constant search for love and acceptance. Harry's mother, old and sick, waiting for death is a triumph for Updike, as is his father, a painfully average man, with hate and bitterness creeping out from behind his servile demeanor. And of course we have Rabbit. He's so easy to hate as he is to pity. Either way, no reader can ever be indifferent to this big, pathetic, useless man. That is Updike's feat! Its with his characters and human nature and emotion that Updike shines and if you can get past his attempt to make sense of the world he lived in, there is a tale here that will push you, annoy you, and make you mad and sad and think about life and death. That is the mark of a truly great book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rabbit Redux, 1 Dec 2013
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This was recommended to me by my son. I loved this book and the previous one, Run Rabbit and am currently reading Rabbit is Rich. Fabulous writer.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rabbit Redux, 27 Aug 2013
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This review is from: Rabbit Redux (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Fascinating use of English, I have read the book before but I still enjoyed it. Well done Updike, as usual.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classy and classic, 26 July 2013
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This review is from: Rabbit Redux (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
The Rabbit series is famed, and at first you wonder why. But having read one, and now two, each one is quite memorable and they somehow tell you everything you need to know about middle America. It is not a cheery read, but then life is not particular cheery and it is reflective of that. Perhaps it is an accurate reflection of our gloomy selves, or the bits of us that are consigned to self-destruction. Don't let that negative description put you of, definitely worth reading - there are few better!
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3.0 out of 5 stars redux, 31 May 2013
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This review is from: Rabbit Redux (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
the weakest of the four rabbit books although still quite good. the following two novels are more developed and more engaging.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rabbit Redux, 29 July 2011
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Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rabbit Redux (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
`Rabbit Redux' sees us return to the world of Harry `Rabbit' Angstrom and this picks up ten years after `Rabbit Run' left off.

Set in 1969, Harry has been living a life with his wife and son in relative stability. That is until his wife leaves him and Harry is left behind with his teenage son and his resentment. He takes in a young woman and a black radical and before long his life is turned upside down.

This book is split into four chapters and this is written with Updike's usual beauty and vivid imagery. The first half of the book was simply outstanding and I was often left marvelling at the rich language he uses and re-reading lines and whole paragraphs to soak up the power and depth of his writing. The third Chapter, which focuses on the radical houseguest, was the hardest to read and all of the philosophical talk of Vietnam and pseudo-spiritual politics got a bit wearing. But by the time the forth chapter rolled round things were firmly back on track and the book ended with a flourish.

This is an excellent continuation of Rabbit's story and whilst he isn't always the most likable character, you can't help but empathise with him and feel his life's joys and slights all the more keenly as a result. Updike demonstrates his mastery for all to see here and I can't wait to read the next book in the series and if you enjoyed the first book then I can also highly recommend this.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still stewing in his own juices, 31 Mar 2010
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This review is from: Rabbit Redux (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Rabbit is back and it's 1969. Set against the backdrop of the first moon landing and the Vietnam war Harry Angstrom is once again thrown into personal turmoil. His wife leaves him for a co-worker, his mother is slowly dying, and his job is none too secure. Harry repopulates his house, and his life, with an itinerant 18-year-old rich girl and a black messianic veteran. His son Nelson remains at home with his father and has to come to terms with this new bohemian lifestyle. It's all sex and drugs and rock and roll (well, the blues anyway) for Harry and chums, but the breakdown of his marriage and the death of his first child haunt him throughout.

Rabbit is as flawed and conflicted as ever. At once open-minded and bigoted, he remains patriotic, even jingoistic, as he continues his struggles to grasp the American dream. And, although his behaviour is at times little short of incredulous, he remains a mostly sympathetic protagonist.

And, of course, Updike's prose is as sharp and insightful as ever. An essential read for all lovers of contemporary American literature.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of post-industrial America, 19 Oct 2001
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This review is from: Rabbit Redux (Paperback)
Updike's evocative language and ghostly narrative style combine with brilliantly drawn characters to unearth the bleak voice of the post industrial silent majority. Its grim reading. The moral of the story is that in this world of adultery, faded dreams and shattered prospects life continues, is relentless and seldom will man, in this case Rabbit strive to achieve or hold on to anything of lasting consequence.
A brilliant look at the pitfalls of the affluent, leisure society.
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Rabbit Redux (Penguin Modern Classics)
Rabbit Redux (Penguin Modern Classics) by John Updike (Paperback - 1 Jun 2006)
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