Taken from ivylibra224's Second 1001 Books...book box. Thanks! Book Description: "Brilliant and poignant...By his compassion, clarity of insight and crystal-bright prose, he makes Rabbit's sorrow his and our own."
THE WASHINGTON POST
Harry Angstrom was a star basketball player in high school and that was the best time of his life. Now in his mid-20s, his work is unfulfilling, his marriage is moribund, and he tries to find happiness with another woman. But happiness is more elusive than a medal, and Harry must continue to run--from his wife, his life, and from himself, until he reaches the end of the road and has to turn back....
Edit: 2/6/09: Finished reading this today. It's the story of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, a middle class man living in a small Pennsylvania town in the late 1950s (published in 1960). Rabbit feels trapped in his life with a pregnant wife who drinks, and a young son to support, living in a cheap apartment. On impulse, Rabbit leaves his life and runs -- first to West Virgina and then back to his home town. He moves in with Ruth - a sometimes prostitute -- and goes back to his wife when she has their second child. Tragedy ensues and Rabbit ends up running again. This was a very realistic look at life during the 50s. It's a very American point of view. Updike's prose is eloquent but his sentences are sometimes long and seem to run together -- he also uses a lot of metaphors and is very descriptive. This is the first of 4 novels about Rabbit written at 10-year intervals. This one ended kind of abruptly and it made me want to find out what happens to Rabbit in the ensuing years. I have a copy of Rabbit Redux which I will probably read soon. Overall, I would recommend this novel but it is definitely a downer look at life -- it does not describe the idealistic small-town American life in the 1950's as portrayed in "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father Knows Best" -- this book shows a much more realistic view of it.
I found this a somewhat depressive read, yet it kept me in suspense whenever I had to put it down. Rabbit is not a likeable man, although he feels so himself. I feel sorry for the women in his life. I might try the other Rabbit novels in future. Thanks for sharing this one, perryfran!
Cross-patch is on holiday in New Zealand till end of March! Shall I try Caroley first, as to keep the book moving?
Journal Entry 7 by dutchbooky at Post Office, Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Released 11 yrs ago (3/18/2009 UTC) at Post Office, Bookray -- Controlled Releases
This was an interesting read. I really didn't like the Rabbit character but felt compelled to keep reading to see what was going to happen to him and the women in his life. The ending was quite strange and left me feeling I'd like to find out what he gets up to next, even though this wasn't a book that I'd rave about.
I've PMd Cross-patch. I have her address but as she's probably still on holiday I'll wait until hearing that it's ok to send the book on before doing so.
Journal Entry 10 by Caroley at Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom on Saturday, March 28, 2009
Released 11 yrs ago (3/28/2009 UTC) at Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom
Well, what to say? There is some beautiful prose here, very perceptive observations on nature and human nature too, at its most desperate. I hated the portrayal of the women in Rabbit's life and the general perspective he takes on people in general. There is all this inner wrangling but no real compassion. It has made me quite melancholic.
I would still like to read further to see how Updike matures his character, and am glad to have sampled some of Updike's work. Thank you perryfran. I have the next address and shall post it this afternoon.
I liked this story. It was both tragic and maddening. At times I felt sorry for Harry (Rabbit), but then I would be mad at the way he would behave towards the women in his life, and his lack of responsibility. I like the style of the book, and would really like to read Updike's other 'Rabbit' books. Sorry for holding up the ring, I have had a mountain to get through! Sending off to Danielle now who is next on the list.
Journal Entry 15 by Jozebedee at -- Controlled Release, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom on Thursday, July 16, 2009
Released 11 yrs ago (7/16/2009 UTC) at -- Controlled Release, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom
I finished this book late last night and the last 10 or so pages took me ages to read. I did enjoy the story but really disliked the charachter of Rabbit and felt he really needed to grow up and take responsibility in his own life.
That said the major event in this novel (not naming it to prevent spoilers but you'll know what I mean) I felt was totally Janice's falut and those that blamed Rabbit just because he wasn't there at the time were totally wrong.
Contancting the next in line for an address and I'll get it sent out as soon as possible. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more in this series xx
Journal Entry 18 by Danielle23 at Sunderland, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom on Sunday, August 09, 2009
Released 11 yrs ago (8/10/2009 UTC) at Sunderland, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
This is one of 5 Bookrings that I'm posting off today, you know how it is when they all arrive at once, and I just wanted to thank everyone for being so patient with me.
Thanks for sharing perryfran. This is now on the way to arturogrande xx
I've read a lot of John Updike, but this is the first time I've read any of the Rabbit books. As with all the other novels I've read by John Updike, the prose is beautifully written and so descriptive that I could not put it down. Here's an example picked at random: 'The street lamp like a low moon burns shadows into the inner planes of the armchair, the burdened bed, the twisted sheet he tossed back finally when it seemed the phone would never stop. The bright rose window of the church opposite is still lit: purple red blue gold like the notes of different bells struck. His body, the whole frame of nerves and bone, tingles, as if with the shaking of small bells hung up and down his silver skin.'
Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom really is a very unlikeable man, who, as other readers have said, really needs to grow up and take some responsibility. It is a very dark piece of work and the tragedy hits you like an iron bar in the chest. Ther ending was abrupt and left me wanting to know more about Rabbit, so I will be in the lookout for the other three books in the series. It's now on its way to cat207.
I struggled with this small book with no chapters. It's like reading another Doris Lessing's. Just couldn't concentrate and the more I tried the heavier my eyelids become. Haven't been reading much lately. Have received the next add, will mail it out by end of the week. I see that all have enjoyed reading and also read from the internet how irresponsible this Rabbit was so will give myself 1 more chance. I'm now still at Tothero's messy house.
OK, book is ready to travel. I agree with all that 'Rabbit' is real unlikeable. He's just not into committment, and is always running away whenever problems turn up. Instead of finding solutions, he runs away and hide in his warren, no wonder his name. I have the next person's address, off it goes to Italy.
Harry Angstrom, called Rabbit, was a good basketball player, used to run e win in his childhood. As a man he is still used to run; he ran from his wife, Janice and his son Nelson. His escape will end with a meeting with his old coach a a woman who will be his partner. Rabbit will run from this woman after staying with her. He will return to his wife and their newborn daugheter. Rabbit runs from his work and from his family and his friends. This novel shows us a scared and selfish man living in a small town of USA. The first part of 20th century isn't maybe he age of gold and the main character of this book is used to drawn the dark side of human soul. A good book, sometimes uneasy to read for the long sentences the author used, but quite a real picture of a period.