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Rabbit Is Rich Paperback – 1 Aug 1996

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Aug 1996
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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade; Reissue edition (Aug. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449911829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449911822
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.9 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,749,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"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 gre

"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 criticala

"Unquestionably Updike's finest novel . . . Funny and sharp and damnably intelligent."--"The Boston Globe"
"Dazzlingly reaffirms Updike's place as master chronicler of the spiritual maladies and very earthly pleasures of the Middle-American male."--"Vogue"
"Rich, funny . . . Updike at the very height of his powers."--"New York "magazine

"Unquestionably Updike's finest novel . . . Funny and sharp and damnably intelligent."--The Boston Globe
"Dazzlingly reaffirms Updike's place as master chronicler of the spiritual maladies and very earthly pleasures of the Middle-American male."--Vogue
"Rich, funny . . . Updike at the very height of his powers."--New York magazine



-Unquestionably Updike's finest novel . . . Funny and sharp and damnably intelligent.---The Boston Globe
-Dazzlingly reaffirms Updike's place as master chronicler of the spiritual maladies and very earthly pleasures of the Middle-American male.---Vogue
-Rich, funny . . . Updike at the very height of his powers.---New York magazine

From the Inside Flap

Winner of the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Ten years after RABBIT REDUX, Harry Angstrom has come to enjoy prosperity as the Chief Sales Representative of Springer Motors. The rest of the world may be falling to pieces, but Harrry's doing all right. That is, until his son returns from the West, and the image of an old love pays a visit to his lot....

"From the Paperback edition.

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Format: Kindle Edition
The story, the third in the Rabbit series, moves on another ten years. It is 1979 and Harry Angstrom has entered into comfortable middle age. He is living in a settled relationship with his wife Janice at his widowed mother-in-law’s substantial property. He has been made chief sales negotiator at his wife’s family motor dealership, and is relatively wealthy and content in his life. But, as one would expect with Harry’s rollercoaster existence, there are quite a few flies in the smooth ointment of this. Their son Nelson has returned home and refuses to return to college. The secret is that he has made Pru, a secretary at his Colorado college pregnant, and he comes home to share the family home to marry Pru. The relationship between Harry and Nelson is prickly in the extreme, particularly when he is forced to accept Nelson working at the dealership. Harry also thinks he has seen the teenaged daughter he had from a fling, and is keen to confirm whether it is she. Despite this, though, Harry is happy, and he floats serenely though the narrative, avoiding the personal disasters which have dogged his life hitherto.
The book is written in Updike’s flawless prose, with his beautiful observations and metaphors. An intelligent and focussed examination of life in contemporary USA.
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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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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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Format: Paperback
The most celebrated of the Rabbit books, Rich is rich in literary craft and not so rich on story. While the first two Rabbit books were plot driven, this third edition is character and observation driven. It is longer too, languishing in the world of Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom and everything on his mind. It is a miracle of Updike's craft skills that make this so fascinating.

Rabbit is 46, successful in material terms but trapped like a rat. He has succumbed to being run by Janice and her mother, a prisoner of the Springers, caught by the affluence of inheriting his now dead father in law's creation, Springer Motors. He is fat, complacent, self obsessed, sex mad and altogether fascinating. In a sense, it is about the trap every heater-sexual middle age man has fallen into, the trap of his controlling wife and her family. You can see the feminists squirming on almost every page, their 'powerlessness' and victimhood revealed as false and ridiculous, as Rabbit, like a deer in the headlights, waits to be pulled in whatever direction his wife and family chooses all for security. His pitiful son Nelson is now also a goner, having repeated Rabbit's mistake of impregnating Pru at Kent State and having to marry far too young. The father-son relationship is so terrible, any father will immediately identify the worst moments of his paternity with a shudder of recognition.

I prefer Redux and Run to this, marginally, because so little happens and it is too long in getting to where its heading. Nevertheless, if you want to read what it was like to be a moderately successful middle aged man in late 20th Century, this novel takes some beating.
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