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Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom #4)

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,040 Ratings  ·  365 Reviews
Winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In John Updike's fourth and final novel about ex-basketball player Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, the hero has acquired heart trouble, a Florida condo, and a second grandchild. His son and daughter-in-law are acting erratically, his wife Janice wants to work, and Rabbit is searching his soul, looking for reasons to live.
Paperback, 606 pages
Published August 27th 1996 by Random House Trade (first published 1990)
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M. Alex Goldsmith Yes, but you'd be missing a lot of backstory and character development. Each of the four books in the series takes place ten years after the book…moreYes, but you'd be missing a lot of backstory and character development. Each of the four books in the series takes place ten years after the book before it. This is the last book and takes place in Rabbit Angstrom's 50's. The first three books are all good, so you should pick up the first one if you can.(less)
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137th out of 2,016 books — 2,466 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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brian
Dec 14, 2008 brian rated it really liked it
we believe that with time comes wisdom, that by the time we’re older we’ll have acquired a natural sense of life and other people and our own self and how to live -- how to cast aside the pettiness and do away with the small things that mean nothing more than cancerous nibblings at our gut. but no. it doesn’t just happen. we don’t leave that stuff behind unless we make a serious effort to do so. and it’s hard work. we don’t wanna turn into one of those morons that’s always happy and even (y’know ...more
Mark Juric
Aug 01, 2012 Mark Juric rated it it was amazing
I dreaded reading this book and I have to admit that it took me two weeks to get through the last 50 pages. I miss Harry Angstrom not as if a dear friend has died, but as if I have died myself and yet somehow remain around to mourn my own loss. What's odd is that I didn't really like Rabbit. I did understand him though, in a way that I've never understood anyone aside from myself. That, to me, is Updike's true gift: chipping away to an unvarnished life to expose the raw emotion and thought upon ...more
Manny
Eat a balanced diet. Exercise regularly. Avoid excessive drinking. Don't fuck your daughter-in-law. Lot of good life-style advice in this book...
Frank
Jan 06, 2012 Frank rated it really liked it
I didn't expect to be sad at the end of this. But after four novels, each gradually getting deeper into the character, moving from about 300 pages in the first to almost 500 by the last, I've logged in a lot of time with Harry Angstrom. And so when this one brought his story around to the end, I got a little sad.

It's an accomplishment to write a character essentially from birth to death. And so much of Rabbit's story involves all of the mundane details of small-town life -- watching TV, knowing
...more
Dorothy
May 02, 2009 Dorothy rated it it was amazing
Updike's Rabbit series is, quite simply, some of the best literature I have ever read, and this last book in the series is the best yet.

Throughout, Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom has been a pretty reprehensible character and he still maintains those chops in this book. He is the unchallenged all-time champion of jerks, but here, even Rabbit sinks to new lows. The things he does are enough to make the reader thoroughly despise him. And yet...

He is so completely and utterly human. It wasn't his ambition
...more
Fabian
May 27, 2016 Fabian rated it liked it
Q: Where oh where will Rabbit go to rest? Where will it all--all four decades worth of this, an all American life--culminate-- and how? A: In Florida; and boringly.
This is a tremendously slow trek through Harry Angstrom’s last year and we see the guy eat himself to death and burn bridges with family and friends. (Eh… what’s new?) The sick sad life of the American Male: the fourth novel is overkill; while it's nice to revisit some of Rabbit’s highlights and (mostly) low-lights, how o how can a li
...more
Stephen
Oct 12, 2011 Stephen rated it it was amazing
Just as the first hundred pages of RABBIT, RUN were written in a breathless pace to match their manic tone, the last hundred pages of RABBIT AT REST, which mirror the beginning moments of the series, linger on in a depressingly meaningless manner. Highway billboards, trite pop tunes from past decades, and trivial news headlines about baseball players blur with the names and minutiae of a history book, the snapshot memories of Harry's somewhat uneventful life, and the chronic ups and downs of his ...more
Carole
Feb 15, 2009 Carole rated it it was ok
I read this at a suggestion from a book group. I had earlier in my life been unable to get through RABBIT, RUN, but thought maybe added maturity would help me appreciate Updike's writing more. I was wrong. Even his gift with words (the reason for the second star in the rating) wasn't enough to make up for the thoroughly unlikable characters and depressing picture of several wasted lives. Even the style of writing I often found difficult, making the reading of this novel a slow and painful experi ...more
Priyanka
Mar 18, 2014 Priyanka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
This one is all about death. A little bit about the other stupid things Rabbit does when he turns 56. But mostly about death.

Taken together, the four books are complex character studies of three main people - Harry, Janice and their son Nelson. Observing such richly detailed characters over four decades of mutual history is a treat. But Updike doesn't make it easy. Rabbit is the WORST HUMAN BEING EVER by a very long distance, but even Janice and Nelson aren't always easy to empathize with. Updik
...more
Drew
Jan 03, 2016 Drew rated it liked it
As this is the book I'm reading at the moment I thought I'd use this space to underline how ridiculous I find the idea of the Reading challenge. Books aren't like chilies and I can't see the point in trying to consume as many as possible within the year, as if this was some kind of idiotic competition. In fact it seems to trivialise and undermine the whole point of reading, especially the kind of deep reading that is only possible in books as opposed to the surface skimming which we dedicate to ...more
Lawyer
John Updike closes out his quartet of Rabbit novels with what can only be described as a masterpiece. He won his second Pulitzer for "Rabbit at Rest." Only Booth Tarkington and William Faulkner had previously won the Pulitzer more than once.

Rabbit is semi-retired. He has a condo on the Gulf side of Florida. He maintains his historic Pennsylvania home. But things are falling apart, literally and figuratively. HIV has become an epidemic. A jet disintegrates over Lockerbie, Scotland. Cocaine is a p
...more
Hannah Read
'Rabbit At Rest' is the fourth in the 'Rabbit Angstrom' series by John Updike. Naturally, I decided to read this one before all the others, although I don't think it actually made that much difference.

In this fourth installment, main character Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom now lives in a condo in Florida, in 1989. His family business is starting to fall apart, his wife has suddenly decided that she wants to become a 'working girl', and he's slowly developing heart problems. On top of that, he's in the
...more
Rebecca F.
Jan 30, 2008 Rebecca F. rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Greg Z
Oct 30, 2015 Greg Z rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Updike chooses to end this series with a single and perfect word. After all the raw, ugly damage Rabbit creates, I was glad to leave this world on Updike's perfect ending. This is great writing, definitely deserving of a Pulitzer prize, imo, but it's tough going. In the past, I've reserved five-star ratings for books I know I'll revisit. But I'm not sure I can return to Angstrom's world. I've turned to Ann Patchett's "Run" for now, hoping for something dreamy and beautiful like her "Bel Canto".
Valeri Drach
May 24, 2015 Valeri Drach rated it it was amazing
Updike did such an amazing job with the Rabbit books! To the last word of the fourth and final book, he never fails to make Rabbit life itself, not larger than life, but an exact replica. Rabbit doesn't get to finish the last book he is ever to read, he only has the concentration to read 10 pages at a time, but he does know how it will end. It's a book his wife Janice gave him about Washington and the Revolutionary War. In Rabbit a t Rest, Harry still eats too much and all the wrong things for h ...more
Prakash
Sep 19, 2012 Prakash rated it it was ok
The last of the tetralogy was my first - wonder if I would have read it differently if I knew Rabbit from before.

I didn't find it unreadable - in fact there are some great insights and observations on human nature and it's quite funny at times. The characters are interesting - but between it all there are too many pages where nothing really happens..
Susan
Jul 05, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Appropriate that I would finish this book on July 4th. In the Los Angeles Times this past week, nine writers spoke about what they considered the "Great American Novel". Nobody chose John Updike's "Rabbit" series but if I had been asked, I would have written about this series and in particular this last book "Rabbit At Rest". I have actually given away or donated the other three books in this set but this one is my favorite, a keeper, the one that stays on my bookshelf. Harry Angstrom looks back ...more
Richard Knight
Jun 24, 2015 Richard Knight rated it really liked it
Whew. Finally finished. In this fourth and final book in the Rabbit saga (though, I think there may be a short story or novella after it or something like that) everything comes full circle. Rabbit is a bit older (though, only in his 50s. I thought we'd meet him again in his 60s) and just as selfish as ever. You know, reading through this series, I don't think I've ever encountered a character more oblivious to other people's feelings. Perhaps Updike was making a commentary on the average Americ ...more
Cristina
Feb 10, 2009 Cristina rated it it was amazing
the end of the 'Rabbit' books = the end of my affair with john updike. don't want to read 'Terrorist,' read 'S.,' was disappointed. but the Rabbit books i will read over and over.
Caroline
Dec 18, 2015 Caroline rated it it was amazing
It's 1989, and Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom is far from restful. Fifty-six and overweight, he has a struggling business on his hands and a heart that is starting to fail. His family, too, are giving him cause for concern. His son Nelson is a wreck of a man, a cocaine addict with shattered self-respect. Janice, his wife, has decided that she wants to be a working girl. And as for Pru, his daughter-in-law, she seems to be sending out signals to Rabbit that he knows he should ignore, but somehow can't. ...more
Pd
Sep 18, 2012 Pd rated it did not like it
Shelves: pulitzer-fiction
My favorite of the tetralogy. Probably because this asshole finally dies.
alison
Jul 06, 2015 alison rated it it was amazing
the five star rating is linked not to my first 1996 reading but to the [grand, illuminating] 2001 reread. when first I read _Rabbit at Rest_, I was 18, ignorant of Updike, bored and grossed out by contemporary literature (the thing itself and the class English 140/TR 230-345/somewhere on the second floor of Chambers Bldg). but somehow Virginia Smith managed to persuade arrogant me that, insofar as this Updike and/or Rabbit business was concerned, there was something maybe *I* was missing.

four-a
...more
Jay Koester
Jan 20, 2015 Jay Koester rated it really liked it
It's a bit sad to be leaving Rabbit behind. I might have to re-read these one day. All were great, though Rabbit at Rest was probably my least favorite. The plot was a little slower, with long passages of scenery. But some highlights:

When the big one hits:

"The small effort and anxiety of the maneuver wring such pain from his chest that tears have sprung into his eyes. Yet he feels good, down deep. There is a satisfaction in his skyey enemy's having at last found him. The sense of doom hovering o
...more
Gabriel
Feb 10, 2014 Gabriel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“(…) Harry siente con remordimiento la corpulencia, los 104 kilos y pico según las balanzas más benévolas, que lo ha envuelto a los cincuenta y cinco años formando una serie de capas puestas una a una por cada década. (…) A veces el espíritu de Conejo siente que está a punto de desmayarse por arrastrar tanto cuerpo consigo. Unos dolorcillos punzantes le presionan las costillas y llegan hasta su brazo izquierdo. Se queda sin aliento y misteriosamente nota el pecho oprimido, ocupado por una esenci ...more
Stefani
Jul 07, 2009 Stefani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As Rabbit heads into his fifth decade, and last as far as the series is concerned, he is retired and living in Florida half the year. Florida being the land of the retiree and somewhat of a cultural wasteland, it is an appropriate setting for Rabbit's descent into semi-inertia. This book reeks of the consumerism, greed, and excess of the 80's to an almost nauseating degree. The near constant references to food, in gluttonous detail, that Rabbit consumes voraciously, despite his clogged arteries ...more
Alan
Oct 07, 2012 Alan rated it it was amazing
Reading this book when it first emerged, I was relieved that finally Updike had written a book as good as Saul Bellow's, which
always enriched one's thought about life. Granted, some of Bellow's success lay in the European culture behind so many of his
characters, like Mr Sammler, or Ravelstein. Updike has always written stunningly, with a facile and facetious prose, at its best. But often the books added up to little; they were a smattering of decadent bourgeoise capitalist suburban culture, wher
...more
Kate
Jul 11, 2010 Kate rated it it was amazing
I have really enjoyed re-reading Updike's Rabbit series over the last year. I first read Rabbit, Run in high school (some 10 years after it was published); Rabbit Redux in college; Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest as soon as I could get my hands on them. But Harry Angstrom is about 20 years older than I am, so now that he and I are the same age (his age, that is, in Rabbit at Rest)I understand him in a different way. All the books, and particularly the last two, are beautifully written. I can't ...more
Ben
Jun 16, 2012 Ben rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulitzer
Pulitzer 1992 - This is the last of Updike's 4 Rabbit Angstrom Books. I have only read the last two and will now go back and read the first two. In this one taking place in 1989 Rabbit & Janice have retired to a condo in Florida and his son Nelson now has 2 kids with Pru. As the book opens his life has become mundane but of course not for long. He has a small heart attack that sets in motion the theme of growing old. Nelson is running the dealership and has become a drug addict. The people t ...more
Chris Gager
Nov 18, 2013 Chris Gager rated it it was amazing
Started last night on the almost-final leg of Rabbit Angstrom's journey through life. Harry's poor self-care will bring him down. The shaky self-esteem and sense of wandering purposelessly through his life are the chords that Updike - a great writer by the way - consistently strikes. I have to admit I root for Harry despite his relentless immaturity and clueless jerkiness. As for Nelson? Like father, like son I guess...

Deeper in now and Harry's had his predictable heart attack. The connection be
...more
Fellini
Mar 08, 2013 Fellini rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Кондо во Флориде, внуки, отход от бизнеса, хобби в виде чтения толстой исторической книги... Кажется, Кролик действительно перестал бежать и примирился с жизнью. Жизнь стала предсказуемой, чуть скучноватой, но удобной как старые домашние тапочки. Но расслабиться и наслаждаться ей не получается, родные подкидывают всё новые сюрпризы. /тут могли быть спойлеры/
В финале Кролик совершает самый удачный, наверное, за всю жизнь побег. Достигая цели, недоумевает и снова и снова переосмысливает свои посту
...more
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Tackling the Puli...: Rabbit at Rest (John Updike, 1991) 16 21 Nov 19, 2015 02:23PM  
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John Hoyer Updike was an American writer. Updike's most famous work is his Rabbit series (Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit At Rest; and Rabbit Remembered). Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest both won Pulitzer Prizes for Updike. Describing his subject as "the American small town, Protestant middle class," Updike is well known for his careful craftsmanship and prolific writing, havin ...more
More about John Updike...

Other Books in the Series

Rabbit Angstrom (4 books)
  • Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstrom, #1)
  • Rabbit Redux (Rabbit Angstrom, #2)
  • Rabbit Is Rich (Rabbit Angstrom, #3)

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“We are each of us like our little blue planet, hung in black space, upheld by nothing but our mutual reassurances, our loving lies.” 9 likes
“....his silence he has indicated that he is willing. He hasn't the strength any more, the excess vitality, for an affair—its danger, its demand performances, the secrecy added like a filigree to your normal life, your gnawing preoccupation with it and with the constant threat of its being discovered and ended.” 4 likes
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