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Rabbit Redux (Rabbit Angstrom #2)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  9,636 ratings  ·  498 reviews
In this sequel to Rabbit, Run, John Updike resumes the spiritual quest of his anxious Everyman, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom. Ten years have passed; the impulsive former athlete has become a paunchy thirty-six-year-old conservative, and Eisenhower’s becalmed America has become 1969’s lurid turmoil of technology, fantasy, drugs, and violence. Rabbit is abandoned by his family, h ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 406 pages
Published 1971 by Alfred A. Knopf
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Greg Z Leila, no, you don't need to read "Rabbit, Run" to understand "Redux". However, I'd skip "Redux" and just go with "Run", which is a better book in my…moreLeila, no, you don't need to read "Rabbit, Run" to understand "Redux". However, I'd skip "Redux" and just go with "Run", which is a better book in my opinion.(less)
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Community Reviews

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A year ago I vowed to myself (and you, if you had read my review of Rabbit, Run) that I’d read a Rabbit novel annually until I’m done with the four-novel series; the idea being that I could look back and see how I’d changed in the past year, comparing the changes in my life with those incurred by Rabbit. But it’s the same shit different day for me over here, ya hear? And I’m not turning this into some kind of self centered review about me-me-me. Instead, I’m going to (eventually) talk about the ...more
MJ Nicholls
This book is where the Angstroms became the Osbournes, without the cracking heavy metal catalogue. Or, as other reviewers have pointed out, it’s where Updike tackles Big Questions of American politics and culture within his sexy literary soap opera framework. I also see I was wrong in attempting to empathise with Angstrom—he’s clearly being set up as a Great White Dope, where racist and sexist poison accumulates and infects those unfortunate enough to fall under his sway. So we open with Rabbit’ ...more
Moira Russell
This is actually cut and pasted from a long comment on someone else's review! It focuses primarily on this book, altho there are some sentiments in it I'd apply to all the Rabbit stories.


warning! terribly tl;dr

Ben said:
Updike swung for the fences; he wanted to represent the 60s in one novel; but it was like he didn’t really immerse himself in it; like he was trying to write about it from the outside, as an observer. Novels written by the “observer writer” can work, of course; but typically, I
I wrote this review a few years ago for a different site. I called it Rabbit's A Reactionary Racist. It's been edited a little bit from it's original context.

What is the novel about? Well it’s about Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom: a man in his early thirties, with a wife, a son and a job on the verge of being made obsolete by technology. In the first novel, Rabbit ran away from his wife and young child. The novel dealt with the way he is pulled between his freedom and responsibility. In Rabbit’s secon
Weirdly, as I read the last page, it struck me that this book, which is jammed with late-60s turmoil, is at heart a book about the sacredness or, perhaps better, the ongoing bond of marriage. Given all the (graphic) infidelity, that may be surprising, but I was reminded of the theological thread that ran through the earlier Rabbit, Run. In Redux, it's more muted, but early on we get a glimpse of the religious component as Rabbit admits to sometimes praying on the bus. Why not at home? I'm not su ...more

Es 1969 y han pasado diez años desde los acontecimientos que remecieron la vida de Harry “Conejo” Angstrom, quien a los treinta y seis años se ha convertido en un oscuro linotipista que trabaja con su padre y se toma un trago con él al final de la jornada. Ahora es un ciudadano anónimo, un estadounidense común y corriente, muy lejano ya al héroe del baloncesto que fue en la secundaria. El sistema se lo ha tragado hace mucho tiempo (de nada le ha valido correr) y el parece bastante conforme con e ...more
There are some wonderful sentences in this book - the opening line "men emerge from the little printing plant at four sharp, ghosts for an instant, blinking until the outdoor light overcomes the look of constant indoor light clinging to them" is amongst my favourites. Over a whole novel, though I start to find it a bit tiresome and over-written.

For me, its of interest mainly as a document of changing times and the upheavals of the 1960s as seen from the point of view of an unremarkable and diffi
Noah Dropkin
This is the second novel in the Rabbit tetraology, written in 1971. John Updike is without a doubt one of the best novelists of the past 50 years. Some authors like Updike and Philip Roth write with such ease it is obvious when you read their prose.

Ten years after the first Rabbit novel, this book is about many things - marital infedilty and the challenges of middle-age, the 1960s, Vietnam and of course the furher development of Harry Angstrom, an anti-hero whose best times seem to be behind him
What makes Rabbit one of the most compelling characters in American literature? By all objective accounts he is scum of the earth, a man who ought to be jailed for spousal abuse and child neglect, not to mention his serial adultery, drug abuse, racial epithets and harboring of a fugitive. Yet Rabbit remains a sympathetic figure, because through him Updike creates a mirror; Rabbit's considerable flaws do not sink inward, as part of his character, but bounce outward back at the society he chafes a ...more
This was so much better than I dared hope. Maybe I'm finally mature enough to read John Updike! It lost me a little during some of the long conversations between Rabbit and Skeeter, and I often felt like 'Rabbit, what are you doing?!?', but I really liked it generally and am no longer dreading the two prize-winners in the series. I also thought it was neat that I read the first Rabbit book when I was around 24 or 25, when Rabbit himself is around that age, and read the second when I was 34 and R ...more
Aug 06, 2007 Liz rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who HAVE to read things through in order
Shelves: library
Ugh. I'm committed to reading these through, but this had better be the low point of the series (ahem, tetralogy). Updike is compelled to use the word "cunt" as often as possible, and the Skeeter character is boring and obnoxious. The third section dragged (all those quotes from "Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas"?!) and there wasn't enough of Updike actually writing the beautiful descriptions of landscape and feeling that he's capable of.
Lars Williams

Compared to 'Rabbit, Run', the second book in the Rabbit tetralogy is a lot harder to love. For a start, it's infused with casual misogyny and racism, which probably reflects the time it was written as much as the time in which it was set. The character of Rabbit is morally ambiguous to a much greater extent than in the first book, although as the story develops this moral ambiguity becomes more or less the point - he's a weak character as well as a product of his time, yet he does manage to tr
John Updike's second novel about Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, far from being a dated, passe update of the protagonist's life, is instead a sharp, resonant snapshot of its times. Published just two years after the time in which it was set, 1969, "Rabbit Redux" tackles and moves among the era's issues and defining moments: race, the space program, drugs, the Vietnam War, modern angst. It also shows Updike's ability to make a lot out of a little, plot-wise.

"Rabbit, Run" was very good, not great; "Rabbi
Neil Pierson
Along with all the excitement and change, there were a lot of lousy things about the late 60s: Viet Nam, Nixon, racial conflict, addictive drugs, sexual freedom that sometimes felt more obligatory than thrilling... .

Well, they're all here in this book if you want to revisit them. If I were you, I'd pass. As a great voice of the 60s sang, "I'd have to be some kind of natural-born fool to want to pass that way again."
I'm finding that I'm not much a fan of the themes that Updike is writing about in the Rabbit Angstrom series of books; and I'm finding that all of the characters in these novels aren't all that likable or admirable. But … I also find Updike to be a masterful writer. In my quest to read through all the Pulitzer fiction winners (which include the last two Rabbit Angstrom novels), I decided that I needed to read the tetralogy from the beginning. So, Rabbit Redux is the second of the four novels, wh ...more
“Miserable novels bore me. I don’t want to read a miserable book about misery.” —Barry Hannah
This is obviously not a miserable book in terms of quality, but it is most definitely about misery and I'm just immature enough to need redemption to make the misery worth my time. Updike isn't any less amazing and ill definitely finish the series, but there as just a bit too much depravity for me to enjoy or recommend.
Greg Z
Yes, angst is right, page after page of it. And, to make matters worse, this book has not aged well at all. Most of "Redux" is preachy 1960's politics and the racism and xenophobia on display make this a tough read. Even if one is able to credit Updike with ranting against these issues, the experience of reading this book is so unpleasant I can't recommend it to anyone. And I found some scenes simply unbelievable (good grief, why not close the curtains of the house when the neighbors complain?). ...more
James F
This was a real disappointment after Rabbit, Run. Updike's strength is in characterization, and that is where he most fails here; while Rabbit and the other white, older characters are still fairly realistically portrayed, the younger and Black characters (especially Skeeter and Jill) seem to be based on media stereotypes and imagination rather than experience and observation.

The novel is mainly about the politics of the Sixties, and the political descriptions also are very superficial and based
Ugh. Rabbit Redux offers a peek into Harry/Rabbit Angstrom's life during the summer of '69 -- some 10+ years after we left Harry running from his infant daughter's funeral -- and I found it to be downright depressing. While time may improve fine wine, it hasn't improved the life of Harry or anyone in his sphere. Gone is the spark that set Harry off in his search of that undefined something in Rabbit Run, and he's become a surly curmudgeon long before he should. But who can blame him? The decade ...more
Updike is often mentioned as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century and the Rabbit books are described as masterpieces of American literature. Am I missing something? As far as I could tell, it was a soap-opera plot mixed in with some tasteless sex scenes, an excessive amount of detail and descriptive language that is so excessively ornate it frequently becomes tawdry and nonsensical. That seems to impress the critics, but it doesn't impress me.

This book is also an opportunity for
There are parts of this book that make you want to jump off a bridge and maybe even slit your wrists on the way down--but in a good way. I think.

Rabbit Redux is an intense, microscopic view of the disintegration of marriage and other institutions and values in 1969 as white men go to the moon, black men riot in the cities, and both die by the thousands in Vietnam. The main character, a blue-collar worker in a dying industrial Pennsylvania town, tries like hell to understand the chaos around him,
B. Glen Rotchin
At the beginning of the summer I set myself the goal of polishing off the first four of John Updike's five Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom novels. As I near the end of book #2, Rabbit Redux, I might have to admit defeat. I don't think I'll make it past this one, for now. I wasn't expecting light summer fare, but these novels drag. They are virtually plotless, completely character and relationship driven. The aspect that rankles most is the uncanniness of the main character, by which I mean that he is bo ...more
At the end of Rabbit Redux is a wonderfully affecting reconcilation between two life- and self- battered lovers that is beautifully observed and true to life at its most poignant. Clear proof that Updike is not just a master stylist but a gifted observor and chronicler of life’s disappointments and consolations. Before that, however, is a manic-depressive narrative of less than credible events and choices linked to the emblematic turmoil of the 60s in ways that leave the reader disconnected from ...more
In this second part of the series, you want to kill Rabbit a little bit less. He is still the same guy that lives on reactions rather than actions, but his mind has also never been more interesting. It seems that this is the novel in which Updike becomes aware that he is in the process of writing a chronicle of global growth seen through the eyes of America, or the quintessential American. It's funny how this kind of growth can seem stunted and all-too-quick at the same time. I think the book's ...more
New York Times

Published: November 5, 1971

By John Updike
When I began this book and found Rabbit Angstrom 10 years older, fatter, softer, settled and no longer even running as he was in the earlier version, I wondered why Updike had locked himself in with this loser, why he had given himself so little elbow room. He has this habit, I thought, of keeping his people small -- old, precious or ordinary -- so he can write all around them, pin them with his exquisite
Aaron Haberman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rabbit Angstrom isn't running anymore. After his wife Janice leaves him to move in with Charlie Stavros, a car salesman at her father's car lot, Rabbit is adrift. He and his son, Nelson, now thirteen, are going it alone at their home in the burbs. Enter Jill, a rich runaway from Connecticut complete with Porsche. Rabbit is alone no more. In fact, when Stavros tells Rabbit he's growing tired of Janice, Rabbit's not ready for Janice to come home. Rabbit stands his ground. And he takes chances he n ...more
Stephen Thomas

Rabbit is back and it's 1969. Set against the backdrop of the first moon landing and the Vietnam war Harry Angstrom is once again thrown into personal turmoil. His wife leaves him for a co-worker, his mother is slowly dying, and his job is none too secure. Harry repopulates his house, and his life, with an itinerant 18-year-old rich girl and a black messianic veteran. His son Nelson remains at home with his father and has to come to terms with this new bohemian lif
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All About Books: Week 88 - Rabbit Redux by John Updike 8 15 May 28, 2015 07:45AM  
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls (Sparknotes Literature Guides)
  • Blind Man with a Pistol (Harlem Cycle, #8)
  • The Captive & The Fugitive (In Search of Lost Time, #5-6)
  • Chariots of Fire
  • The Counterlife
  • Texas by the Tail
  • Nineteen Seventy Seven (Red Riding, #2)
  • In the Heart of the Country
  • Myra Breckinridge
  • The Black Prince
  • The Lay of the Land
  • Humboldt's Gift
  • Clarissa Harlowe; or the history of a young lady - Volume 1 (of 9)
  • Ratner's Star
  • Bunner Sisters
  • The Essential Tales and Poems
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
More about John Updike...

Other Books in the Series

Rabbit Angstrom (4 books)
  • Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstrom, #1)
  • Rabbit Is Rich (Rabbit Angstrom, #3)
  • Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom, #4)
Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstrom, #1) Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom, #4) Rabbit Is Rich (Rabbit Angstrom, #3) The Witches of Eastwick (Eastwick, #1) Couples

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