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Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom #4)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  11,039 ratings  ·  330 reviews
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, Nelson, is behaving erratically; his daughter-in-law, Pru, is sending out mixed signals; and his wife, Janice, decides in mid-life to become a working girl. As, though the winter, spring, and sum ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published December 18th 1990 by Knopf (first published 1990)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Greg Z
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".
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
Valeri Drach
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
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..
Richard Knight
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
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.
Pd
My favorite of the tetralogy. Probably because this asshole finally dies.
alison
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
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
“(…) 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
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
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Tackling the Puli...: Rabbit at Rest (John Updike, 1991) 9 14 Aug 06, 2015 05:14PM  
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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
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)
Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstrom, #1) Rabbit Is Rich (Rabbit Angstrom, #3) Rabbit Redux (Rabbit Angstrom, #2) The Witches of Eastwick (Eastwick, #1) Couples

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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.” 7 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.” 2 likes
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