Rabbit at Rest
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Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom #4)

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  9,521 ratings  ·  287 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, 608 pages
Published August 27th 1996 by Random House Trade (first published January 1st 1990)
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brian
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
Frank
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
Mark Juric
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
Stephen
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
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...
Carole
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
Katherine
At 512 pages, Rabbit at Rest might just be literature's longest death scene, and also one of its most ambivalent. War and Peace made me cry... Rabbit at Rest made me want to eat a salad. Just like the macadamia nuts, bacon double cheeseburgers, and beers Harry continues to pound after his first heart attack, you get the feeling that he's brought everything on himself. And yet, this is a guy we've followed like an omniscient ghost through 1600 pages, and just because he's living a fishbowl life d...more
Priyanka
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
Dorothy
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
Mike
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
Rebecca F.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Prakash
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..
Cristina
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.
Gabriel
“(…) 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Stephanie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ben Hallman
"In the condo, the phone is silent. The evening news is all Hugo and looting in St. Croix and St. Thomas in the wake of the devastation and a catastrophic health-plan repeal in Washington that gets big play down here because of all the elderly and a report on that French airliner that disappeared on the way from Chad to Paris. The wreckage has been found, scattered over a large area of the Sahara desert. From the wide distribution of debris it would appear to have been a bomb. Just like that pla...more
Jason
In this final book, Rabbit is more dislikable than ever. He's been a great character to follow through 3 previous books, mostly because he represents the bigotry, pessimism, and ambivalence that may be deeply hidden in all of us. However, I award 3 stars because I didn't feel close to this character. The writing was spectacular, but Updike left Rabbit flat for me--perhaps it was simply a lack of his personal description, besides being tall and overweight. I enjoy the stream of conscious, first p...more
Heather
I read this book very slowly, and not because I wasn't interested or I found it difficult. I really just enjoyed Updike's words and wanted to savor it. I had grown quite attached to the Angstroms and enjoyed checking in on what they were up to everyday. I appreciated how Harry's loneliness in this book parallels the loneliness in the first book and remained impressed with Updike's ability to create sympathy for such a flawed character. Harry's Big Horrible Mistake in this one, might be the worst...more
Rick Bowen
A moving conclusion to the forty year journey of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom,the book charts the physical decline of a not exactly sympathetic character that we have grown to known in the previous three "Rabbit" novels. I consider this the best of the four (or five if you count the piece the appeared in The New Yorker) years back because it deals with issues of old age and physical decline in such a sympathetic manner. Updike can be an awful scold when it comes to sex. He's not really a sex-positive...more
Sandra
Seriously, just shoot me now and put me out of my misery. I read the spoilers, and am glad I only got through about 1/3 of the book before stopping. There needs to be some sort of plot to keep me interested, but so far there is none. I feel like I know a little too much about a man much like Archie Bunker, only more depressed and perverted. The blah blah minute details of this mans day to day experience was ho hum, and there were no likeable characters in this story either. I will give the autho...more
Dave
Jan 08, 2013 Dave marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: calibre, fiction
EDITORIAL REVIEW: "Rabbit at Rest", the delightful last novel in the rabbit sequence, is both comic and moving. Rabbit, now in his middle fifties, is living in a condo in Florida. Nelson and his wife and children come to stay and disaster ensues; Rabbit has a serious heart attack after a boating attack with his granddaughter and Nelson is discovered to have been embezzling the family firm to feed his cocaine habit. The resolution of the Angstrom Family's conflicts is brilliantly described and dr...more
Christopher
"Harry Angstrom - The Twilight of My Boners"

It's 1988/9 and Harry Angstrom is even older, even fatter, and talks about his prick only slightly less now when he's not thinking about golf or salted snacks (or having sex with his daughter-in-law).

Harry Angstrom isn't a character so much as he's a walking expression of Freudian id. He's despicable in every conceivable way (physically repulsive, dim-witted, emotionally stunted, and fundamentally narcissitic). Despite this, Harry and his uncircumcised...more
Amber
'She is getting out of Florida, deaths favorite state, alive.'

'His many burdens have been lifted away in this light-drenched hospital, this businesslike emporium where miracles are common if not cheap.'

'Claims lie heavy around him, squeezing. Now a sexually unsatisfied mistress, another burden.'

"Harry, PLEASE. Don't sound so maudlin. You're still young. What? Fifty-five? Not even above the speed limit."

"You can't say anything honest to women, they have minds like the FBI.'

'Mediterranean types......more
Lee (Rocky)
Another 10 years have passed in the life of Harry Angstrom. Much has changed, as he and his family have aged and grown. Much has stayed the same as well (namely that Nelson is a little shit). This was a fitting end to the 4 novel series, with an ending given away by the title, and hinted at incessantly throughout the novel. As usual Updike does an amazing job of placing the Angstrom family within the context of their time, with this novel taking place at the end of the Reagan administration and...more
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John Hoyer Updike (born March 18, 1932 in Shillington, Pennsylvania) 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 hi...more
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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.” 6 likes
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