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Rabbit Redux (Rabbit Angstrom #2)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  8,890 ratings  ·  465 reviews
The assumptions and obsessions that control our daily lives are explored in tantalizing detail by master novelist John Updike in this wise, witty, and sexy story. Harry Angstrom--known to all as Rabbit, one of America's most famous literary characters--finds his dreary life shattered by the infidelity of his wife, Janice. How he resolves or further complicates his problems ...more
Paperback, 404 pages
Published 1995 by Penguin Books (first published 1971)
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Ben
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
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
...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
Greg
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
...more
Patrick
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
...more
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
...more
Gabriel
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
Liz
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.
Stewart
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
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
...more
Tim
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
...more
Katherine
As Rabbit Redux begins in 1968, we learn that our man-child anti-hero has grown up into... one of those crew-cut wing-tipped lawn-mowing wife-slapping N-bomb-dropping don't-sass-me-punk-I-did-my-time-in-that-Korean-thing weasels that populate every single white suburban boy's 1960s coming of age story ever written, the ones who serve as a foul-mouthed foil for the young hero's eventual enlightenment.

In my review of Rabbit Run I touched on the divide between the "clean" Brewer and the "dirty" Bre
...more
Hollis
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
...more
Lawrence
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,
...more
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
Rick
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
Lucy
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
Holly
New York Times

Review by ANATOLE BROYARD
Published: November 5, 1971


RABBIT REDUX
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
...more
Aaron Haberman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Frank
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Mike
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
STILL STEWING IN HIS OWN JUICES

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
...more
Jee Koh
My first Updike, and I exploded with pure pleasure. From the precise beauty of its descriptions. From its beguiling historical detail and allegorical meaning. From its nuanced understanding of men and women, particularly men, but also women, what they want, what they fear, what they fear to want.

The structure of the book is elegantly simple. It opens with a wife walking out on her husband, and closes with the probability of them getting back together again. Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom is a man who
...more
Gregg
Not quite as satisfying as "Rabbit, Run." Too sexually graphic for even my taste. The politics wandered aimlessly, and the characters were way too broad, or even cliched, for any kind of empathy on my part. Yet I kept reading it. So Updike must know something I don't about the meaning of Midwestern life.

Rabbit Angstrom's adventures pick up after the first novel: he's back with his wife, but they separate. He's about to lose his job. He shacks up with a hippie girl of sorts and gets mixed up in
...more
Jim
Apr 07, 2009 Jim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who hasn't seen it in 20+ years
I read this about the time it was published, and a recent mention of Updike prompted me to pick it up again.

When I first read it, Rabbit was older than I was, and frankly it was difficult for me to relate to anything in his life (except maybe the disputes about Vietnam). I could still appreciate Updike's prose, though. His imagery was/is often surprising.

This time -- what a difference 35 years makes. I have a new appreciation of Harry Angstrom's situation and attitudes, and a much less judgmenta
...more
Kirk
This may have been the first book that really made me want to write. I remember discovering it first as a child among my mother's paperbacks---probably 1974 or so. I read it much more thoroughly during my senior year of high school and fell in love with both it and Updike. I think I read every Updike there was within a month. (And even back then there was A LOT). Years later, of course, I can see the imperfections: Jill is a bit of a hippie cliche; some of the historical tie-ins are a little too ...more
Richard Knight
It may not be as enjoyable as Run, Rabbit, mainly because of the characters this time around, but Rabbit Redux is a solid progression in the saga of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom. Taking place ten years after the events of the first book, Rabbit is an older man, beleaguered by a boring job and problems at home. It begins with an affair and escalates to some pretty major events, but my main problem with it is two primary characters, Skeeter and Jill. I just don't like them. I'm not really sure what tha ...more
Book Wormy
Rabbit Redux John Updike
2 stars for enjoyment 3 stars for writing style

This is the second novel in the Rabbit Angstrom series and I am sad to say that I still hate Rabbit as much as I did in the first book, he has still refused to grow up and is a rascist, sexist bigot with no redeeming qualities.

I had hoped at the start of this book that Janice was going to grow a back bone and become a character you could respect sadly this never happened instead she ended up coming across just as sociopathic
...more
Megan Nigh
Having read Rabbit Redux within a month of finishing Rabbit Run it is fairly easy to compare the two novels. Rabbit Redux picks up ten years after Rabbit Run concluded. In this novel, the tables are turned and Janice leaves Harry for another man. The beginning of the novel makes more sense than the second half does. In sort of a random series of events, Harry comes to host an 18 year old white female former druggie and an African American druggie on the lam, along with his 12 year old son. This ...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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