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Rabbit Angstrom A Tetralogy: (Rabbit Run,Rabbit Redux,Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest): A Tetralogy - "Rabbit, Run", "Rabbit Redux", "Rabbit Is Rich", "Rabbit at Rest" (Everyman's Library Classics) Hardcover – 21 Sep 1995

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1519 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman; Rev Ed edition (21 Sept. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185715214X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857152142
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 13.5 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 90,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John Updike was born in 1932, in hillington, 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, and since 1957 has lived in Massachusetts. He is the father of four children and 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. A previous collection of essays, Hugging the Shore, received the 1983 National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism.


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Format: Hardcover
Many good writers can tell an engrossing story, but only the best manage to reach inside your head and grasp perceptions that you yourself had never acknowledged but instantly recognise, shudder or smile at, and empathise with when you read. Suddenly you are there with the characters, experiencing everything they see, feel, hear, smell, taste and touch, every twinge, every furrowed brow and fleeting thought. John Updike is one of those masters and many of his descriptions stay in your head forever. I can't look at rhododendrons without remembering his description of them in Rabbit, Run - 'when the first blooms came, they were like the single big flower Oriental prostitutes wear on the side of their heads...but when the hemispheres of blossom appear in crowds, they remind him of...the hats worn by cheap girls to church on Easter'.

All th Rabbit books are beautifully written. Rabbit's indecisiveness, his angst and discontent, are painted with an incredibly masterly touch, as are his effects on those around him. Updike captures not only characters but the whole human predicament. His insights are second to none - with a few well chosen words he can nail a feeling, thought or action where other lesser authors would struggle and use ten times as many less suitable words.

My only slight disappointment about Updike is that many of his characters are so stereotypically 'male'. They are able to fall out of love when their wives fall into depressed alcoholism, their hair thins, they lose interest in sex, or they become overweight, able to walk out on partners and kids without seeing to miss them, or with only a flicker of self-indulgent angst.
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Format: Hardcover
With the passing of the incomparable John Updike I suspect many potential readers will look to this collection of the Rabbit novels which, taken together, have been called The Great American Novel. Certainly with his peerless prose, keen eye for detail and nuance and delicate descriptive sense, there was no author better suited to laying down the chronicle of the middle-of-the-road Harry Angstrom. Some have questioned the dichotomy - the beautiful writing, the less-than beautiful people it describes - but therein lies its genius. Updike makes the mundane seem exceptional and worth reading about.

I also felt it important to redress the balance and get the rating closer to the 5 stars it undoubtedly deserves. John Updike was one of the greats of American literature and this was his masterpiece.
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Format: Hardcover
It's not about the quality of the prose (stunning though that is) it's all about trying to cope with getting older, families, jobs, expectations and exasperations.

You see Rabbit in his mid-20s, then mid-30s, mid-40s and finally, at the end, in his mid-50s and in each book he changes and develops in the way we all do - each book is centred around a specific incident (the death of the baby, the fire, the wife swapping and the heart attack) but these are simply devices around which to hang the stunning details of a life.

Reading about any life is profound, but reading about one this ordinary yet so rich is life changing. Rabbit is like you and me, with the same desires, fears and insights. The superbly detailed observations of Rabbit's life and times get you thinking about yourself and whether you learned from mistakes, yours or others.

Personally it is Rabbit's complex relationships with those closest to him that I think are the highlight, particularly his complex and constantly developing relationships with Janice and Nelson, and then in the final book (my personal favourite)the deep and beautiful bond he develops with his grand-daughter Judy.

Read all four of these books and I guarantee you will understand more about yourself, about life and about love. I've read them twice and found I had a radically different reaction reading them as a father in my early forties, than I did as a single guy reading them in my late 20's
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Format: Hardcover
Amazon tells me, at the top of the page, that I ordered this book back in 2002. It's nice of them to remind me. It's not often that I reread something this thick so few years after the first go-through, but the memory of this book remained engraved in my mind. I had recently been thinking of rereading it, and Updike's death prompted me to pull it out and crack it open.

While the first reading was a kind of epiphany, the second reading is much more: bits of enlightenment shine through the pages as the four novels go by. Watching Harry Angstrom's life go by, in such a short time - it took me maybe two weeks to read the second time through - is, in a way, like watching my own. Not that my life is like his, but bits of it are. Seeing Rabbit in his mid-20s, then mid-30s, mid-40s and finally, at the end, in his mid-50s, just a few years older than me, makes me think that has life is a template for all our lives. Sure, we don't have the same experiences - few people have as many affairs or such close knowledge of death - but so much of this book speaks to me deep down.

Reading about any life is profound, but reading about one this rich is almost cathartic. Rabbit is the quintessential American, with the same desires, fears and insights of so many of us. Yet he stands above us in his manner of observing the world - Updike's manner, of course. While what happens in this book is certainly interesting, it's Updike's asides that make it such a classic. His almost Proustian observations of Rabbit's life and times - any American's experience of these four decades - is subtle and haunts the entire 1500 pages of this book. I can think of no better book to sum up the American experience of the late 20th century. I miss you, John Updike. Thank God you wrote so much.
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