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Rabbit Redux

(Rabbit Angstrom #2)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  14,135 ratings  ·  764 reviews
In this sequel to Rabbit, Run, John Updike resumes the spiritual quest of his anxious Everyman, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom. Ten years have passed; the impulsive former athlete has become a paunchy thirty-six-year-old conservative, and Eisenhower’s becalmed America has become 1969’s lurid turmoil of technology, fantasy, drugs, and violence. Rabbit is abandoned by his family, h ...more
Paperback, 440 pages
Published August 27th 1996 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 1971)
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Alex Brown It's not necessary, but will help you understand the nuance of the relationships and many of the references. This is a great book and you'll probably …moreIt's not necessary, but will help you understand the nuance of the relationships and many of the references. This is a great book and you'll probably like it. If you like it enough to want to read books 3 and 4, reading the first one will have helped a lot.(less)

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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  14,135 ratings  ·  764 reviews

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Jan 04, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: classic-novels
“‘That may be your mistake, Harry. You’ve taken Janice for granted ever since – the time.’ The time he left her. The time the baby died. The time she took him back. ‘Ten years ago,’ his father needlessly adds. Harry is beginning, here in this cold bar with cactuses in plastic pots on the shelves beneath the mirrors and the little Schlitz spinner doing its polychrome parabola over and over, to feel the world turn. A hopeful coldness inside him grows, grips his wrists inside his cuffs. The news is ...more
DISCLAIMER: Rabbit, Run made me a John Updike fan-girl.

If Rabbit, Run was Updike's anti-1950's-American-suburbia book, then Rabbit Redux is definitely his rage against the 60's. Set in 1969 around the time of the moon landing, we find Rabbit, a little over a decade older, and he's not running. You could say that karma has caught up to him. Rumour has it that Janice (who has sobered up and is working at one of her father's car dealerships) is giving Rabbit a little taste of his own medicine, and
Michael Finocchiaro
I felt this was the weakest of the Rabbit books. It covers the 60s and has a particularly reprehensible co-star. There is lots of violence and hate in this book - the hideous underside to the sexual revolution. Obviously, Updike was not taken in by all the peace, love and happiness rhetoric and instead looked at the damage that unbridled sexuality and drug use could have on society - here focusing on how it affects Rabbit and his family. Still a great read and a must before finishing the cycle w ...more
Jul 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: white guys who want to hear what white guys think about black guys
Or Rabbit Gets Woke, in which Rabbit is turned on to and back off of the hippie movement with the convenient help of a barely legal teenager who shows up like "I love blowjobs, can I live with you?" and a crazy black guy who will not shut up. Rabbit Redux is Updike's Go Ask Alice, a bizarre, racist rant about Vietnam and the dangers of marijuana that culminates with the black guy jerking off as Rabbit reads Frederick Douglass out loud to him.

In Rabbit, Run, the plot moved forward largely in sex
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
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Like the decade of the 60s, “Rabbit Redux” is a bit tricky. Wee complications arise in so liberal a landscape, especially if the everyman in the novel is absurdly conservative. Add then a haze proliferated by drugs (weed and alcohol and pills) in the mix, and what you have left over is Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, older but none the wiser. This time around, ten years after the first Rabbit novel, Janice, Harry’s sad, insipid wife runs away, leaving Rabbit with the kid. Add then too the elements that ...more
MJ Nicholls
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: merkins, novels
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
Xandra (StarrySkyBooks)
You know those “This is how men write!” jokes we make about how sexist and objectifying the narration is by some male writers?

That’s what this book is like.

Rating: 2 stars. Was I supposed to be blown away by this book, since it is considered one of the best of all time? Because... no thank you.
As part of the PopSugar Challenge, I opted to listen to #2 in Updike's Rabbit series, which takes place in 1969 while Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom is a supposedly responsible adult enjoying the fact that America is fighting the Viet Cong, and lamenting the fact that his wife Janice is leaving him for a guy she works with (and is opposed to the war). Harry is the Everyman in his opinions and lifestyle. It was like a walk down memory lane to hear his arguments about politics and race, and he is very op ...more
Moira Russell
Dec 19, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: underwhelmed
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
L.S. Popovich
Jan 06, 2021 rated it liked it
So different from Rabbit, Run. Whereas, I gave the first novel full marks, I have to grade this one down on the enjoyment scale. Updike does not write a simple sentence. He challenges the reader with idea-rich contexts for his melodramatic characters. There was a lot of fun to be had in the first segment. Less so here.

Jumping right into the second part, we are confronted with an entirely different beast. It retreads some tried and true themes: the corruption of youth, interracial relations, godl
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF @49%

Sorry Rabbit, you just aren't interesting enough for me to continue.
Apr 09, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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
Vit Babenco
These days I wouldn’t bother to read Rabbit Redux at all but I remember then I even liked it in a way.
The novel is too artificial and I believe John Updike simply wanted to catch some zeitgeist in just to be in the running…
“Stavros takes it up quickly. ‘She on anything?’
‘This nympho of yours.’
‘On something?’
‘You know. Pills. Acid. She can't be on horse or you wouldn't have any furniture left.’
‘Jill? No, she's kicked that stuff.’
‘Don't you believe it. They never do. These flower babies dop
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Weirdly, as I read the last page, it struck me that this book, which is jammed with late-60s turmoil, is at heart a book about the sacredness or, perhaps better, the ongoing bond of marriage. Given all the (graphic) infidelity, that may be surprising, but I was reminded of the theological thread that ran through the earlier Rabbit, Run. In Redux, it's more muted, but early on we get a glimpse of the religious component as Rabbit admits to sometimes praying on the bus. Why not at home? I'm not su ...more
Dec 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not at all as strong or striking as our first encounter with Rabbit. Certain familiarly pitiable obtuseness and brazenness about its conduct still, if less compelling as the years pile on.
From BBC Radio 4 - Book at Bedtime:
John Updike's masterful Rabbit quintet established Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom as the quintessential American White middle class male. The first book Rabbit, Run was published in 1960 to critical acclaim. Rabbit Redux is the second in the series, published in 1971 and charting the end of the sixties - featuring, among other things, the first American moon landing and the Vietnam War.

Despite its very strong language, sex, and reflection of racist attitudes of the ti
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
It's summer, 1969, and man lands on the moon. Five, four, three, two, one. . . and, oh, hell, turns out the moon's just another cold rock, another land of isolation. You could, in fact, argue, that it's a lot like Earth. (Or, that's what the brilliant Updike does.)

And, if you're a literary weirdo like I am, you can't HELP but read this novel and think of T.S. Eliot's The Hollow Men:

This is the dead land
This is the cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a
Jul 16, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: reviewed
Yes, angst is right, page after page of it. And, to make matters worse, this book has not aged well at all. Most of "Redux" is preachy 1960's politics and the racism and xenophobia on display make this a tough read. Even if one is able to credit Updike with ranting against these issues, the experience of reading this book is so unpleasant I can't recommend it to anyone. And I found some scenes simply unbelievable (good grief, why not close the curtains of the house when the neighbors complain?). ...more
Well, this book started off more interesting than Rabbit, Run, but a good chunk of the middle dragged with talk of Vietnam, racial tensions, sexual conquests, along with a good fair share of uncomfortable scenes and degrading language. And then the end picked up enough to make me want to find out what happens in the third book... ...more

Description: In this sequel to Rabbit, Run, John Updike resumes the spiritual quest of his anxious Everyman, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom. Ten years have passed; the impulsive former athlete has become a paunchy thirty-six-year-old conservative, and Eisenhower’s becalmed America has become 1969’s lurid turmoil of technology, fantasy, drugs, and violence. Rabbit is abandoned by his family, his home invaded by a runaway and a radical, his past reduced to a ru
Chris Gager
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I'll start tonight when I get home from work.

Started last night but didn't get very far in. We're about 11 years on from "Rabbit, Run". Harry and Janice have moved to a tacky suburban development and Janice might be fooling around. Harry seems as lost(although still kind of charming!) as ever. We'll see...

- nice description of the print shop and Harry's "joy" in it.

It's been slow going in more ways than one but things should pick up tonight as I have the evening off and the big Janice &
Conor Ahern
I guess this didn't take me quite as long as I imagined, but it sure felt like it took a while.

I mentioned in my review of Rabbit, Run that I was more curious about how this book/remainder of the tetrarchy could be pulled off than enamored of the characters or storyline or even really the writing. As such, I resolved to read the rest when I had the chance, but was in no special hurry to do so.

Fast forward about a month and I was walking around SoHo on a particularly beautiful day. Contrary to my
Dec 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Erica Clou
This a strange book. It takes place in the 1960s, and Rabbit is racist and misogynistic, like a lot of people were/are in real life. Rabbit experiences some growth on the racist front, though Rabbit is so flawed that it's very incomplete. I noticed no growth on his misogynism. More importantly, on the racial front, Updike’s writing is grotesque, even apart from and independently of the inner workings of the character of Rabbit. I'm not a fan of striking books because they're out-of-date (as this ...more
Noah Dropkin
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Cathal Kenneally
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I should have read Rabbit Run first. I have procured that book and it will probably help me to appreciate Rabbit Redux more. My first by John Updike and he is a gifted writer. There are other books in this series. It's like a sort of bildungsroman divided up. A lot going on for Harry Angstrom at the same time. He's having to deal with a rebellious son, an estranged wife and two guests who love to shoot up. His job is going down the pan as well.
He doesn't deal well with the 60's . Maybe Updike w
Carol Storm
Aug 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
Truly vile book. Just as ugly as STUDS LONIGAN, but far more dishonest and intellectually timid. Where James T. Farrell exposed Studs' ugliness to bring about social change, Updike tries to present Rabbit's venal, cringing, petty hypocrisy as some sort of heroic defense of the status quo.

Now I hated this book like absolute poison when I read it years ago. But it just occurred to me that it reminds me of a movie I actually liked, a dark cult film from the Sixties called JOE.

Does anyone remember J
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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 Angtrom #1)
  • Rabbit Is Rich (Rabbit Angstrom, #3)
  • Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom #4)

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