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Rabbit at Rest

(Rabbit Angstrom #4)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  14,218 ratings  ·  486 reviews
Winner of the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. 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 and daughter-in-law are acting erratically, his wife Janice wants to work, and Rabbit is searching his soul, looking for reasons to live.
Paperback, 608 pages
Published August 27th 1996 by Random House Trade (first published December 18th 1990)
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Alex Brown Yes, but you'd be missing a lot of backstory and character development. Each of the four books in the series takes place ten years after the book befo…moreYes, but you'd be missing a lot of backstory and character development. Each of the four books in the series takes place ten years after the book before it. This is the last book and takes place in Rabbit Angstrom's 50's. The first three books are all good, so you should pick up the first one if you can.(less)

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While the average person may have been conducting online searches for holiday recipes this week, I was doing my own Google search. . .which type of cigarettes did John Updike smoke? (My poor, poor children. No Waldorf salad or candied yams for you).

That query provided me with information that I already knew, that Mr. Updike died from lung cancer, as a result of his nasty smoking habit, but my actual question wasn't answered.

Which kind of cigarettes did he smoke??

Do you know?

I don't. But I want
According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2017 was year of the Rooster, but for ME, it was year of Rabbit. This year, I discovered with great glee, the brilliance of John Updike, and I've hopped through the four books he wrote about the guy we all love to hate (or hate to love), Rabbit Angstrom.

I'm bidding goodbye to this flawed horndog, with misty eyes. Somehow, from the beginning, despite his reprehensible, often misogynistic ways (and his overuse of the "C" word), I liked the bastard. From his family-
Dec 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Michael Finocchiaro
This last book in the Harry Angstrom cycle by Updike looks at the end of Rabbit's life and disillusionment at the end of the 80s. It is worthy of the Pulitzer it garnered (Updike's second after the equally superb Rabbit is Rich). Suffice it to say that there is the same set of characters which we know from the previous books and a nice circular return at the very end. An essential read for understanding America on the eve of the 90s.

It is an excellent book which explores the themes of aging and
Mark Juric
Oct 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Q: Where oh where will Rabbit go to rest? Where will it all--all four decades worth of this, an all American life--culminate-- and how?

A: In Florida; and boringly.

This is a tremendously slow trek through Harry Angstrom’s last year and we see the guy eat himself to death and burn bridges with family and friends. (Eh… what’s new?) The sick sad life of the American Male: the fourth novel is overkill; while it's perfectly nice to revisit some of Rabbit’s highlights and (mostly) low-lights, how o how
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...
Sep 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: golfers
"What's a life supposed to be?" asks Rabbit's daughter-in-law. "They don't give you another for comparison." But at its best, that's what Updike has done with the Rabbit books. He's given us another, and it's this terrific shambling asshat of an everyman, a former athlete who goes exactly to seed right before our eyes.

Updike's ability to inhabit such a normal person with sympathy and honesty puts these books, taken together, in the Great American Novel pantheon. He's now covered Rabbit from his
Christine Boyer
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Contemporary family drama
Pulitzer Prize winner 1991. Oh my gosh! I can't believe I'm saying goodbye to Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom and Janice and the whole family! This was the fourth and final book in the Rabbit series. I seriously hated to see it end. It was so good - I just zoomed through 500+ pages.

There's not much to say here that hasn't already been said. Updike had an incredible gift for observing life and portraying it in a way that we can all relate to. This particular novel was following Harry at age 55, but not
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 20, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: pulitzer-fiction
My favorite of the tetralogy. Probably because this asshole finally dies.
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Perfect ending. I got choked up and I loved it.

After 1500+ pages of Rabbit, even with all his flaws I'm going to miss him. Living through four decades along with all his unfiltered thoughts was a roller coaster ride.

Rabbit, Run was a good introduction to this, at many times, unlikable character.
Rabbit Redux was the least enjoyable of the four books and, frankly, hard to stomach in a lot of parts.
Finally, Rabbit Is Rich a Rabbit at Rest were the best of the four books and ended the tetralogy nic
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Dated, racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, repetitive, not as good as Franzen, just generally socially conservative. But I've got a lasting affection for Rabbit Armstrong, whose claustrophobic little life comes to a kind of resolution, satisfying if only because we don't have to spend any more time with his awful family, his disintegrating community, the decline of the culture that reared him and killed him.
Priyanka Vavilikolanu
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
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
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
Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it
As this is the book I'm reading at the moment I thought I'd use this space to underline how ridiculous I find the idea of the Reading challenge. Books aren't like chilies and I can't see the point in trying to consume as many as possible within the year, as if this was some kind of idiotic competition. In fact it seems to trivialise and undermine the whole point of reading, especially the kind of deep reading that is only possible in books as opposed to the surface skimming which we dedicate to ...more
Justin Kirkland
Jan 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
Self indulgent garbage. The dying gasp of white male privilege.
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Bettie, Wanda
From BBC Radio 4 - Book at Bedtime:
ohn Updike’s fourth novel about Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom.

It's the end of the 1980s and Harry has acquired a Florida condo, a second grandchild, and a troubled, overworked heart - not to mention a troubled underworking son. As Reagan’s debt-ridden, AIDS-panicked America yields to that of the first George Bush, Rabbit explores the bleak terrain of late middle age - looking for reasons to live and opportunities to make peace with a remorselessly accumulating past.

Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-lit
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
Jef Sneider
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-reading
In spite of my protestations that I don't like Rabbit or Updike's writing, I have read all 4 of the Rabbit Angstrom books. This time, however, Rabbit has been less annoying and a more sympathetic character, perhaps because he is more introspective, perhaps because he is more subdued in his usual reactivity. Until the end, that is, when he reverts back to the old Rabbit we knew and disliked.

In this Pulitzer winning novel, Updike really shows off his skills. His command of the time and the places
Mar 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This 1991 Pulitzer Prize winning book was the last in the 4 part series written by John Updike about the life of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom. I enjoyed this final book the most of this series maybe because the main character was the same age as me. Updike did great job continuing this series over 3 decades. I give this book 4 stars.
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"Rabbit at Rest," the final novel in the Rabbit Tetralogy, arguably the defining work of John Updike’s career, sat on my bookshelf for months before I opened it. It wasn’t for lack of curiosity about how Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom’s life would end; rather it was because for a period of time I couldn’t imagine living without him. So close I had become to the character, the most recognizable and universally reviled of Updike’s creations, that he served as a barometer for me, a funhouse mirror for my ...more
Pages Plates
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: domestic-fiction
'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
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pulitzers-read
Loved the writing, hated the characters. Ok. I got through all four of the Rabbit Angstrom novels. Every one of them deserves all the awards and accolades it received. There is simply no denying that Updike is a masterful writer, borderline genius. But, by God!, his characters in the Rabbit tetralogy, all of them, are just seedy, soulless reprobates. Rabbit Angstrom, the protagonist, does soften somewhat with age and ill-health, but not too much. He's still a selfish, mean bastard. That would be ...more
Bart Thanhauser
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
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Rebecca F.
Dec 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
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Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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".
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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

Other books in the series

Rabbit Angstrom (4 books)
  • Rabbit, Run
  • Rabbit Redux (Rabbit Angstrom #2)
  • Rabbit Is Rich (Rabbit Angstrom, #3)

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