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

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  813 ratings  ·  66 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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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
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
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
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
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Serge Pierro
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
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
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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
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
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
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
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.
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
Centered only on Rabit Remembered because it REALLY did tie everything together in a good way with Nelson taking charge as the good guy.
Peter Milligan
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
OK, I haven't read this whole collection, only "Rabbit Remembered," which is the reason I bought it. The ghost of the narcissistic Harry Angstrom puts in one last appearance in the form of his long-lost flesh-and-blood progeny. He haunts the story throughout. His rival Ronnie, now married to his widow, sums him up best: "I knew Rabbit longer than either of you. I knew him since we were kids in knickers snitching penny candy off the counter at Lennert's Variety Store. That conceited showboat neve ...more
I picked my copy up at a library book sale. I was in the mood for short stories, novellas - basically something condensed but that still packed an emotional punch. This was just what I craved.

The stories dealt with infidelity, unrequited love, troubled marriages, boring marriages, homosexuality, short-lived crushes, and the act of looking back and asking - what if? The dialog was sharp and realistic, and all of the characters were well defined.

If you liked Truman Capote's novella Breakfast at T
Bob Young
Enjoyed the series...right up there with Richard Ford's Sportswriter series...
James  Ward
I bought this book for 'Rabbit Remembered', but I ended up enjoying the short stories as much/more than the sequel. Although some of the themes of the short stories seem redundant, some of included stories are among Updike's best. Worth mentioning are 'The Cats', 'Natural Color', 'His Oeuvre' and 'Licks of Love in the Heart of the Cold War', which contain some of my favorite Updike moments. With that being said, those interested in continuing to read about Rabbit Angstrom wont be disappointed wi ...more
Josh Boardman
Sigh. I could live in Updike's East forever. I'm going to have to force myself not to immediately start working on the rest of his extensive oeuvre of novels, short stories, and criticism (let's forget the poetry and the art criticism). The short stories leading up are fun little morsels, though at times a bit contrived, and Remembered is just... well, magnificent. Too short, so it seemed a bit contrived (once again... one of his pitfalls), but the closure with the Angstrom family was sorely des ...more
Eliza T. Williamson
Aug 29, 2008 Eliza T. Williamson rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eliza T. by: hester
I am hesitant and a bit embarassed to 3 star John Updike--however this is my book site and therefore I am gonna go with it. While there were certain stories in this collection that stood out for me, in particular "My father on the verge of Disgrace", for the most part I was a bit bored. The settings were clear and well crafted, the imagery was stark and clever but at times I felt like nothing happened and I longed for action--a little needling or hurt feelings or overt aggression.
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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.” 1 likes
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