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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

on 17 February 2016
I didn't find this a very easy book to read with very long, lumpy sentences and pages and pages of seemingly endless inner monologue. The level of detail was boring and excessive throughout even including, at one point, the page by page content of the history book Rabbit was reading.
I also found it generally depressing ; no aspect of the human condition is left out, everything is there in graphic detail.
However ........it is a good book.
Parts of it are totally absorbing and even gripping.
I came away with a strong sense of having almost lived someone else's life.
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on 11 February 2014
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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VINE VOICEon 4 April 2012
It's taken me a little while to get round to reading this final novel in the Rabbit series, not least because I wanted to have it to look forward to. While I feel Rabbit Run is the best in the series, this was my second favourite. Once again Updike manages to pull off a vividly personal story of Harry Angstrom's continuing struggles, with himself and those around him, against the backdrop of America in the 20th century. No mean feat.

The fact that Harry, for all his weaknesses and foibles, remains almost entirely endearing is quite an achievement. He is so utterly human in the way he recognises his own weaknesses, rails against them even, yet cannot seem to stop himself making the same mistakes over and over, best exemplified in his relationships with his own son and with the women in his life. Only his grandchildren bring out the best in him (how true!) and cause him to swallow his pride and open up emotionally.

The writing, once again, is superb, almost unparallelled in my view.

I look forward to acquiring Licks of Love so that I can read the final Rabbit episode.
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on 24 June 2012
Another decade on and Harry `Rabbit' Angstrom is well into his middle-age. He's 56, overweight, and still living the American dream. He splits his time between the old home town in Pennsylvania and his condo in Florida. All should be well, but his cokehead son is running the family business into the ground and Harry is eating himself to death. As flawed and human as ever Harry is still struggling to balance his conflicting impulses. He's the product of an excessive USA, and consumes with gusto. His opinions are still modelled by the media and corporate American mores. Selfishness and lechery are still getting the better of him. And his health is suffering badly from his indulgences. But Harry is incapable of moderating his behaviour. He can't even resist his own uncertain daughter-in-law; with predictable consequences. And Rabbit is tired. He's swiftly wearing out. Finally he decides that maybe enough is enough. So long, Rabbit. I, for one, shall miss you.
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on 6 July 2009
This is by far the best of the four Rabbit books in my opinion, but, as others have said, you should read the others first for maximum enjoyment, and they are all very well worth reading. Updike sometimes places a bit too much emphasis on sex in his novels, for my taste, and Harry's epsidode with his daughter-in-law is not entirely convincing to this reader, but I still think this novel Rabbit at Rest is unsurpassed in 20th Century American fiction, even against such lively contenders as Philip Roth's An American Pastoral, Richard Ford's Independence Day or Richard Yates's Revolutionary Road.

To mention but one episode, Harry's lone drive to Florida, reflecting his flight in the earlier Rabbit Run, is an extraordinary tour-de-force with the car radio bombarding Harry's brain cells with news items current at the time (baseball results, evangelist Jim Bakker's trial, an ailing new-born panda, the Lockerbie bombing aftermath) and with "golden-oldie" radio programmes, evoking exquisitely painful/pleasurable memories of long-ago girlfriends, including his wife Janice, the "little mutt" who worked at the nut counter in Krolls long since defunct Department Store, whom he is currently running away from (yet again.)

A wonderful book and definitely in my top ten.
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on 6 November 2012
This is a monster of a book. I have read all the Rabbit books and this is by far the longest and most thorough. The action focuses upon his heart problems and the way that family is being destroyed by his son't drug use; all set to the backdrop of 1980s political and cultural changes. The book is a classic - it really doesn't matter what I think of it. If you love Updike books you'll love this. If I were nitpicking then two things: firstly, it's overly long in places. Secondly, I just couldn't see his son's wife having sex with him - a lot of suspension of belief is needed for that bit, to be fair!
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on 22 February 2011
Bought as a replacement for my water damaged hardback first edition. Well worth the re-read. Follows Rabbit Angstrom through his mid and later life trials and travels, Far from being at rest, he is put through family and social dramas against a background of late 20th century USA. It is beautifully written, and an engaging account of this apparently prosaic hero.
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on 4 January 2014
I have now read all the series and have thoroughly enjoyed following Rabbit as he went through his life. The books were extremely funny and also wonderfully provocative. They contained much more sex than I am used to reading but I loved the stories. A wonderful writer.
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on 30 September 2016
Gruesomely accurate portrayal of an ageing western male with 'family issues'. The level of detail and the prose are stunning and create a concoction of humour, horror, banality, lust, deceit and denial which makes for compulsive reading. I'm not sure which is the 'worst' of the Rabbit books but this one is a strong contender.
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on 13 June 2016
I am just re-reading the 'rabbit' series again , after first reading them in the early 80's . My best ever library find , then went on to read every single thing John Updike had ever published. ' couples' , 'marry me' and 'the coup' being my absolute favourites !!
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