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Licks of Love: Short Stories and a Sequel, "Rabbit Remembered" (Rabbit Angstrom #5)

3.79  ·  Rating Details  ·  871 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
In this brilliant late-career collection, John Updike revisits many of the locales of his early fiction: the small-town Pennsylvania of Olinger Stories, the sandstone farmhouse of Of the Farm, the exurban New England of Couples and Marry Me, and Henry Bech’s Manhattan of artistic ambition and taunting glamour. To a dozen short stories spanning the American Century, the aut ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Random House (first published November 7th 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,452)
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no other book i’ve read proves those famous lines more terrible or more true than the Rabbit series:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

you want to scream at these people to be nicer and have some perspective and see the big picture; that all the arguments and minor tragedies and betrayals and quibbles and pettiness are NOTHING if you take a few
Oct 16, 2009 Jamie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having never read the Rabbit series, I only have this one novella to go on, but the entire collection was wonderful. In the spirit of Irving, there's an East Coast "vibe," even when the stories deviate or rely on other aspects to full them along. In the end there's always the smell of fall leaves and changing seasons. Wet boots on hardwood and dirty blankets to catch the slush. You can't extract the East from Updike's stories.
In a world of new books, I can say there's something about a handful
Aug 01, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A triumphant late collection of stories by Updike, and a novella length addition to the Rabbit tetralogy, Rabbit Remembered. The stories cover many familiar Updike themes and some revisit aspects of his own life already related in earlier novels; The Cats is a late life reflection on the early novel Of the Farm, there is another addition to the canon of stories featuring the self-centred writer Henry Bech, and Licks of Love in the Heart of the Cold War is a picaresque Cold War odyssey in which a ...more
May 17, 2014 R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I selected this from the library's shelves mainly for Rabbit Remembered

And what's he remembered for? Why, being Rabbit, of course. Rabbit when running, Rabbit when resting... and still messing with poor Nelson and Janice from beyond the grave. At least it all ends happily. Updike seems to express sincere affection for the Angstrom family in all their glorious fuckuppedness.

Also, oddly, for a short novel published in 2000, it seems to be on a psychic wavelength with post-9/11 fear, worry. Readin
Chris Gager
Jun 02, 2014 Chris Gager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've already read half of it via the novelette at the end: "Rabbit Remembered" now I'll read the stories that preceded it.

"The Women Who Got Away"... A subject many men are fond of. Heh-heh. This one's a bit of a bore as it focuses on middle-class infidelity, a boring topic to me. Updike is semi-obsessed with sex and women. The ending's a hoot, though. JU did a number of looking back/re-visiting stories as he got older.

"Lunch Hour"... I read a similar story in the NY'er. Maybe this one but I don
Mr. Updike is still the grand master of describing the landscapes of American middle class' life, he gives you the every aspect of this middle class' existence. Whenever I read Updike's stories, a sense of American-ness always hits me right in the face, I like how I am able to see the American landscapes and its people through his writing.

But I found it weird that according to Updike's writing, middle class American men spent most of their time to: (a)think about their past sexual affairs with d
Rebecca F.
After finishing the last novel in Updike's "Rabbit" series, I was a little sad to see the story end, to say good-bye to Rabbit Angstrom. So admittedly, I experienced a feeling of sweet self-indulgence when I discovered the "Rabbit Remembered" sequel at the back of this collection of stories. Or maybe it was more "bittersweet," sort of like reconnecting with an old boyfriend/girlfriend after many years, the excitement and warmth of re-establishing that intimate connection and re-living past highs ...more
May 01, 2007 Alexis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "Rabbit" fans
I was very surprised (and relieved, in a way) to discover this book after finishing what I thought was the last of the Rabbit series. I enjoyed reading what was left of his legacy from the female perspectives that were so overshadowed by his presence (and narration) while he was alive--but I missed him--because part of what made the previous books so great was being so close to his voice. It wasn't really nessessary for Updike to go back in to this world and demystify Nelson, Janice, ect., but I ...more
James F
A collection of a dozen short stories, and a sequel to the Rabbit series (which I didn't read.) The book was published in 2000, but the stories are somewhat older. The stories were uneven, some had some good passages but as a whole I wasn't impressed.

When I started reading Updike, I was surprised that he seemed to be a serious writer, when I had assumed he was basically a commercial "best-seller" author; these stories are more in the latter vein -- he seems to be writing for the sake of writing
Vivienne Strauss
Really loved most of the short stories but Rabbit Remembered was my favorite. I read all 4 of the Rabbit novels several years ago and didn't want them to end. It was great finding out what happened to everyone ten years later. Updike, much like Richard Yates, writes about the weakness and sadness that is prevalent in all us humans.
Elizabeth Brown
Jun 29, 2016 Elizabeth Brown is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished the final novella and piece of the Rabbit opus and have to say it was a satisfying ending. There was just enough call-back to the previous novels and enough insight to make it a worthwhile finish.

One of the best parts of this series of books is you can understand why the characters do what they do - even if it's frustrating and annoying and short-sighted. Also liked how Updike was able to show both the changing and stagnant nature of a town throughout the time period.

I think the d
Serge Pierro
Sep 14, 2015 Serge Pierro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Although this is a collection of short stories, the centerpiece is clearly the novella "Rabbit Remembered". Taking up half the book, "Rabbit Remembered" provides closure to the series of four novels, as Updike explores the relationships that were previously established and ties things up nicely for a satisfying end. While the writing is still of a high quality, it doesn't reach the level of the third and fourth books of the series. However, this is only a novella, and one can't expect the range ...more
Jul 07, 2011 Jogle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Having read the whole ‘Rabbit’ series, and loved them in varying degrees, I had to take the time to read the novella, ‘Rabbit Remembered’ which accounts for half of this collection. I think that is how most readers will come to this book. ‘Rabbit Remembered’ deals with the aftermath of Harry Angstrom’s life, not just in a memory but also in the physical and emotional elements he has left behind. Ten years have past since his death and life has continued for the family up to the millennium. New l ...more
Jay Winters
It took me a while to get through this book, I won’t lie. The books is basically divided into two parts. The first half is short stories, almost entirely dealing with the subject of marital infidelity. The second half is a novella “Rabbit Remembered” which is a sequel to one of Updike’s earlier stories about Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom.

I had never read an Updike collection before, and if you had asked me in the beginning section of the book (the stories of marital infidelity), I most likely would
Nov 11, 2008 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aldo Lingua
Jun 22, 2016 Aldo Lingua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Siento que recibí una clase magistral de narrativa. Los cuentos abordan la normalidad bajo la premisa que son los pequeños detalles, las decisiones más simples y nuestras creencias más arraigadas las que nos hacen ser. Updike crea (y cree) en la familia como la base de todos nuestros traumas, de nuestras acciones, y en sus cuentos y la pequeña nouvelle aquí presentes, hay una reflexión completa acerca de como nunca seremos capaces de olvidar por completo ni sacarnos de encima esos años y visione ...more
Feb 02, 2016 Nandan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, john-updike
The short stories are typical Updike - with copious references to intercourse and several startling refreshing similes. The second half of the book contains the 'Rabbit Remembered' - the fifth and final book in the Rabbit series that's much shorter compared to the first four; yet retains enough continuity of narration and style to fit seamlessly in the series spanning half a century - each novel getting published around the turn of the decade starting in 1960.
A surprisingly good collection of short stories from Updike. I bought the book primarily for the included novella, Rabbit Remembered, Updike's late-career curtain call for the characters of his Rabbit Angstrom series. And while that is a satisfying read for anyone who's followed the series, the other stories are what make this collection. My only complaint would be that Updike's narrow thematic obsessions are on full display here, with nearly every story driven by a narrative involving an older ...more
A nice epilogue to the series but i'm not sure it was really needed. Without seeing the world through Rabbit's naieve and narcisistic viewpoint, it just doesn't resonate in the same way for me. It does remind me of the universal truth that everyone can hold a grudge, even after the enemy is long gone, even dead. Nelson doesn't seem like the same person, I suppose you could chalk that up to rehab and therapy. Anyway it was nice to see what happened to everyone in a soap opera kind of way. But the ...more
Dec 22, 2010 Annie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
so, i found this collection of short stories -- most revolving around marriages crumbling in middle age -- really cliched and uninspired (although beautifully written). it essentially beats the brow of the whole "banal evil of marriage" thing.

then i had a long discussion with a friend who is an updike devotee. he reminded me that updike was one of the first writers to write this sort of story -- ie, to examine the institution of marriage and all the hypocrisies of its norms (or deviations -- a
Nov 29, 2015 Alyssa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love John Updike, and as a short story writer, all of his pieces pack that end gut-punch of surprise, the quiet turn and then the stark realization of what happens in his endings. Slightly morose, and always elegantly written, I adore Updike's prose and loved this collection.
I'd actually give this 3.5 stars. I was mostly in it for Rabbit Remembered, which was a satisfying ending to the Rabbit series. I found the short stories in this collection to be a bit repetitive (dude lusts after/sleeps with a gal who he isn't married to, then reminisces about it as an old man, etc), but there were some that stood out: My Father on the Verge of Disgrace, Natural Color, and Scenes From the Fifties were my favourites.
Amanda Carver
Surprised by how much I liked the short stories. I deeply loved the Rabbit series and bought the book for the novella at the end, but I think that for the most part I liked the short stories better and felt like "Rabbit Remembered" was an affirmation of a million pages about one character and his shitty little town in Pennsylvania being enough. Not too much, but enough.

The weird thing about Updike is even though I really love reading him I feel like I wouldn't recommend him to anyone. He can be
Seth Whaland
Apr 09, 2015 Seth Whaland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't actually read the short stories in this book. I read "Rabbit Remembered" to complete the Rabbit series. It was a fitting end, as the year 2000 is about to hit. 50 years worth of Rabbit Angstrom. Pretty impressive.
Mark Walker
Jul 24, 2015 Mark Walker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genius
I read this only for the final Rabbit instalment. As a whole this series of books rank among the finest achievements in literature. This final and short piece is just as good as the others, even without the direct presence of Harry Angstrom himself. It is a clever touch to have the son Nelson as a counsellor as it allows the author to explore our attitudes to those who struggle most with carrying around the heavy weight of existence. Entirely realistic, brilliantly written.
Apr 20, 2010 Misty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am giving this four stars, because Rabbit Remembered - the reason I bought this book - made me cry at the end. Of all the moments in the series, I will probably remember the last few sentences of this novella the most.

The rest of the stories in this collection were just okay, and I tired of them before reading them all. Too much adultery, although I liked some of the details in "New York Girl." I know now that I don't want to read the Bech books after starting but not finishing the Bech story
Jane De vries
Apr 04, 2014 Jane De vries rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Centered only on Rabit Remembered because it REALLY did tie everything together in a good way with Nelson taking charge as the good guy.
Philip G
I finished Rabbit Remembered. I loved it. I've loved being able to watch this family. I'm happy for Nelson.
Peter Milligan
Jan 26, 2015 Peter Milligan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read everything I've ever been able to find published by Updike. EVERYTHING. Everything gets 5 Stars.
Ruqaiya Said
I was disappointed with the book, but as I read along I realised that I picked the wrong book to begin with . It was one of those moments when you see a book on a bookshelf and tell yourself :" This looks good" , and that's exactly what it was , just looks good. 2/3rds of this book contains a painfully slow narrative of stories about infidelity in marriages. Whilst that might be considered as audacious by some , I found it dreadfully boring despite the narrative being descriptive.
I wont throw i
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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)
  • Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom, #4)

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“Part of being human is being on the verge of disgrace.” 2 likes
“You can go to the dark side of the moon and back and see nothing more wonderful and strange than the way men and women manage to get together.” 0 likes
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