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Rabbit, Run

(Rabbit Angstrom #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  56,156 ratings  ·  3,369 reviews
Rabbit, Run is the book that established John Updike as one of the major American novelists of his—or any other—generation. Its hero is Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a onetime high-school basketball star who on an impulse deserts his wife and son. He is twenty-six years old, a man-child caught in a struggle between instinct and thought, self and society, sexual gratification an ...more
Paperback, 325 pages
Published 1996 by Random House (first published 1960)
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Caroline I'm with Shaun. It's terrible, and I regret wasting time on it. I elaborated in my review, but Rabbit is an unlikable character that cannot be sympath…moreI'm with Shaun. It's terrible, and I regret wasting time on it. I elaborated in my review, but Rabbit is an unlikable character that cannot be sympathized with at any point. Now, there's nothing wrong with unlikable characters--I've enjoyed many books containing them--but Updike failed to make Rabbit relatable in any way. When it comes to unlikable characters, readers have to be able to sympathize in some way, to at least understand why they're the way they are, and there's simply no understanding him. He's just a despicable man through and through. You have missed out on nothing. Move along to something else on your TBR and feel no regrets. (less)
Dan Marsh The best I can figure is it's a product of its time. After the second world war, our society moved past just living to exist and actually had a chance…moreThe best I can figure is it's a product of its time. After the second world war, our society moved past just living to exist and actually had a chance to think about our lives and whether we were happy or not. This book explores a family's unhappiness, and how they deal with it. The best part is the way Updike uses stream of consciousness to relate what the characters are going through. I appreciate what he was doing, and can only imagine the daring it took to be so forward-thinking at that time; but IMO the book hasn't aged well. (less)

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Jul 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
God, do I hate Rabbit Angstrom! How much do I hate him? If I was in a room with Hannibal Lector, the Judge from Blood Meridian, the Joker from Batman, and Rabbit Angstrom, and someone handed me a gun with only 3 bullets, I'd shoot Rabbit three times.

This is the first book by Updike I've read, and his reputation as a writer was well-earned. I'd had a vague idea that this story was about a former hot shot basketball player struggling to adjust to a regular life. I was completely unprepared for th
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to see teenage angst plus ten years
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list but not Kemper
I'm sorry I think I might have to pause before the start of this review and scream discretely into a pillow:


Phew, that's better, very cathartic. This is yet another book from the 1001 books list which has made me question whether or not the people who write the list actually like people who read books or if they are really secretly intent on torturing us all for their own amusement?

The review w
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I've read this year. Period. Maybe last year, too. Maybe. I don't know. But this book is amazing. I just looked up synonyms for "amazing", and all of them are adjectives you can use to describe this book.

Man, John Updike just has this way of making the most mundane, ordinary stuff extraordinary. He takes pages and pages to set a scene or describe the inner thoughts of one of his main characters, and all of it is awesome. I mean there were paragraphs that went on for pages
“I once did something right. I played first-rate basketball. I really did. And after you’re first-rate something, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second-rate.”

Harry Angstrom, nicknamed Rabbit as a boy, knows what it’s like to be at the top of your game. And once you’ve been at the top, it is very difficult to come back down. Unfortunately, this seems to be exactly what has happened to ‘poor’ Rabbit. He reached his peak far too early but refuses to believe this. He knows th
Nov 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
bellow's writing blows my mind but rarely touches my heart. a handful of mailer's essays and novels are essential, but it's his guts and brain and balls and heart and the ferocity with which he lived life that's the real inspiration. roth? well, i've made my views on roth very well known in bookface world. and the few updike short stories i've read only convinced me that his elegant & writerly style really bugs the shit out of me.

all of 'em (bellow, mailer, roth, updike) found themselves as the
Apr 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“[Rabbit Angrstrom] drives too fast down Joseph Street, and turns left, ignoring the sign staying STOP. He heads down Jackson to where it runs obliquely into Central, which is also 422 to Philadelphia. STOP. He doesn’t want to go to Philadelphia but the road broadens on the edge of town beyond the electric-power station and the only other choice is to go through Mt. Judge around the mountain into the thick of Brewer and the supper-time traffic. He doesn’t intend ever to see Brewer again, that fl ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
This was the first and shortest of the Rabbit books from Updike. I think that the last two are better because Updike had 30-40 more years of maturity and writing under his belt but this book grabs you and doesn't let you go and makes you beg the the next one. The original concept behind the series is that Updike describes the life of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom in 1959 in Rabbit Run, 1969 in Rabbit Redux, 1979 in Rabbit is Rich, and 1989 in Rabbit at Rest. There is even an epilogue Rabbit Remembered ...more
Have you ever seen something noted because it is a representation of a specific thing? For example, a building might be marked with a plaque as a perfect representation of a type of architecture. Well, this book should be marked with a plaque as a perfect prose example of America in the late 50s/early 60s. The thoughts, ideas, acceptable social standards, treatment of women, etc. are so vivid and strongly represented, but soooooo dated!

The book is very interesting, but mainly held my attention t
Ahmad Sharabiani
Rabbit, Run (Rabbit Angstrom #1), John Updike

Rabbit, Run is a 1960 novel by John Updike. The novel depicts three months in the life of a 26-year-old former high school basketball player named Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom who is trapped in a loveless marriage and a boring sales job, and his attempts to escape the constraints of his life. It spawned several sequels, including Rabbit Redux, Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest, as well as a related 2001 novella, Rabbit Remembered. In these novels Updike ta
Mar 28, 2010 rated it did not like it
You know what would be nice, is if there was a wikipedia for life, and every time you met someone, you could just give it a glance and see if, you know, you really want to be associated with that person.

Sure, it would backfire, it would reveal your prejudices and narrow-mindedness, your circle of friends might become a lot less varied and interesting. On the other hand, you'd never have to fake a conversation about football again, and you could easily avoid the total assholes like Rabbit Angstr
Richard Derus
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Get over it! Pull up your socks and get on with it! Sheez.

Book Circle Reads 96

Rating: 2.5* of five

The Book Description: Penguin's bumf--Rabbit, Run is the book that established John Updike as one of the major American novelists of his — or any other — generation. Its hero is Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a onetime high-school basketball star who on an impulse deserts his wife and son. He is twenty-six years old, a man-child caught in a struggle between instinct and thought, self and society, sexual g
I'm kinda speechless. My mind is spinning from being held hostage by John Updike for the last two hours of reading this book, which is equal parts disturbing, relatable, repellant, tragic AND one of the most amazingly written books I've read.

Harry Angstrom (Rabbit) is 23. He was a one-time great basketball player in high school. Now, our tall protagonist is waking up to his real nightmare: he's married to an alcoholic with whom he has little in common (besides their two year old son and the baby
Justin Tate
Apologies to my friends who are Updike fans. Despite my hopes to love this classic, I didn't. I'll try to be as specific as possible why.

Part of the issue is probably my own modern perspective. Rabbit, Run was first published in 1960 and its themes are meant to specifically address a certain type of mentality during that moment in time. Updike said that inspiration came when he observed a "number of scared dodgy men" in the late 1950's, "men who peaked in high school and existed in a downward sp
Violet wells
I’ve read three or four Updike novels and I can’t recall a damn thing about any of them. Never a good sign. I was fifty pages in before I realised I’d already read this one. That in itself – to spend money on a book I’d already read – was irritating! Updike’s novels seem like misplaced objects in my life. He’s one of those writers I feel I’ve underappreciated and yet every time I give him another go I’m left underwhelmed. This isn’t a bad novel by any means. But I was relieved to finish it becau ...more
If The Catcher in the Rye hit the American literary scene with shock and awe in 1951, then I can't even imagine what happened when Rabbit, Run hit the bookstores in 1960. My guess is that it wasn't exactly circulating amongst factory workers and housewives (remember when we used to have those here??), which is ironic, because it's largely about them.

This novel is very disturbing. I can't quite recommend it to you unless you can look me in the eye and tell me that you've read either Philip Roth o
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
The very precision of words makes this Man-Bad-so-Man-Punished tale oh so jolting. A writer like this composes a cautionary story out of perfect and incredibly complex sentences. He is undoubtedly a poet, especially in his navigating the traditional ('somnambulent') realm of late '50s idyllic Americana gone to the dogs.

"On The Road" bears a comparison in its obvious Grownass-Young-Man-Seeking-Escape motif. The time-frames are also relatable. But this is closer akin to the intrepid tale of 50's S
Nov 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
If it's hard to love a book when you dislike the hero, it's harder still when the book leaves you cursing the nature of humanity.

I hate John Updike right now.

I hate him as an idealistic dreamer, for making me remember how ugly we are – all of us humans with our selfish hearts and boring thoughts, our fractious flaws, and our suffocating sense of doom and exceptionalism.

I hate him as a woman, for cringe-worthy moments of misogyny, for the distancing male sexual fixation, and for making me wonder
Jan 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I discovered Rabbit Angstrom and John Updike while sitting in the Intensive Care Waiting Room at a local hospital. My mother languished in a coma for one month before she finally found peace, and I spent most of those days and many of my nights in that waiting room. During much of that time I'd blown through typical waiting room crap like books with plots about overthrowing the government, stories about detectives who were psychoanalysts, stories about psychoanalysts who were detectives, etc. On ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stela-eða-láni
"A penis with a thesaurus."
David Foster Wallace, describing John Updike

Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, 26, Mt. Judge, PA, married with a two-year-old son, is a Magipeeler salesman (not what he dreamed in high school basketball glory days). His wife Janice is expecting another child any day, as every night she boozes it up.

After another argument with Janice, Rabbit snaps, hit with an existential crisis, trapped by lifeless monogamy called marriage, choked by a meaningless job. He RUNS, escapes.

Nov 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Guys are like that. Why blame Updike?
John Updike sure could write. I have to admit that. Even if it's in a style that's hardly my favourite: the contemporary lyrical literary fiction style, often a little too serious and precious for its subject. There's a slight excess of detail about everything, even this interesting historical artefact, a domestic ice container, from before home freezers: "the cold breath of the ice, a tin-smelling coldness he associates with the metal that makes up the walls of the cave and the ribs of its floo ...more
On the surface, Rabbit, Run is about a guy who runs around on his son and pregnant wife, and ends up living with a prostitute. Real interesting, right? Actually, yes. Because the characters come to life and they’re struggling with their own moral weaknesses and existential problems -- their problems and interactions are truly believable. So this is an interesting story, because Updike can write, and he pulls it off.

But first, I must explain why my rating is only 3 stars (or, 3 and a half, really
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sassy fannies
The Rabbit Series
Here's the thing about Updike: he's such a good writer. He's a pure natural. His sentences are incredibly good. (Here in Rabbit, Run, sometimes you can feel the effort a little; by the third book, Rabbit is Rich, he's flawless.) His characterization is brilliant: Rabbit most of all is one of the great real people in literature, and the supporting cast - his wife and child, among others - are also real individuals. And, listen: some writers are good at writing but not good at boo
If you check my “Reading Activity” for this book you’ll find that I have started reading it on the 17th of June. The truth is, like with ‘Rabbit’, real life kept getting in my way and I was barely reading a couple of pages a day. It was time to stop and check my priorities list... it turns out that reading was high up on my priorities list and so I grabbed ‘Rabbit, Run’ by the balls and read it in the last couple of days.

This was my first ‘Updike’ read and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The s
“They've not forgotten him: worse, they never heard of him. Yet in his time Rabbit was famous through the county; in basketball in his junior year he set a B-league scoring record that in his senior year he broke with a record that was not broken until four years later, that is, four years ago. He sinks shots onehanded, twohanded, underhanded, flat-footed, and out of the pivot, jump, and set.”

Harry Angstrom. Rabbit. Now married and a young father, wanders home for dinner and passes a bunch of
MJ Nicholls
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: merkins, novels
Something of a masterpiece, this first in the trilogy of five explores the universal themes of domestic humdrummery, fidelity, and the repercussions of discarded dreams. The titular Rabbit is a compelling portrayal of a now somewhat stock character, the coulda-been-a-contender (in this case basketball) bounced into a life of McJobs, dowdy small-town wives, and unwanted children. Updike’s novel is the best depiction of this soap-opera conceit I have read: he transforms every banal scene into some ...more
Rebecca Waller
Apr 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Writers looking for writing inspiration
John Updike has a very non-traditional interpretation of redemption, and you find that in his main character, Harry Angstrom, also known as Rabbit. In this first Rabbit novel, he is 26, and he finds himself in crisis about where his life is headed. I found myself loving Rabbit and sympathizing with him (mostly), but also hating him and hating his choices. As a friend once put it to me, "He is Holden Caulfield grown up." It is a painful and powerful book. The writing is delicious, and I have neve ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-english, 2018, usa
I read "Rabbit is Rich", the third book in the 4 book Rabbit-series almost ten years ago. I got it in the library in Copenhagen and didn't know it wasn't a stand alone. I loved the book and promised myself I'd read all four novels and start from the beginning. I was in a weird headspace at the time and somehow John Updike didn't seem like a priority, so he took a backseat.

I don't really mind having waited to read the first in the series now, because I got to read it now and I absolutely loved i
Andrew Smith
Aug 23, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-finished
I really didn't like this book. In fact I got to about half way and gave up in despair. I’d really wanted to like it – to love it, in fact – and so I was really disappointed to have to abandon it.

I'm a big fan of American literature and gobble up books by Auster, Roth, Wolfe, Franzen and even Salinger, as well as any number of contemporary thriller writers. In fact, I've struggled with the work of very few authors from the States, with only DeLillo springing readily to mind. So I was confident I
Jason Pettus
Sep 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the label

Essay #48: Rabbit, Run (1960), by John Updike

The story in a nutshell:
(Much of today's recap was culled from Wikipedia, for reasons that are explained below.)

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Reading List Comp...: Rabbit, Run but John Updike 24 35 Jul 05, 2020 08:00PM  
Reading 1001: Rabbit, Run 3 12 Sep 21, 2019 05:00AM  
Goodreads Librari...: book listed incorrectly as Kindle edition but is ebook 2 16 Apr 29, 2019 04:02AM  
101 Books to Read...: February Read - Rabbit, Run 3 4 Feb 03, 2019 08:17AM  
I'm looking for suggestions of books written in a similar third person voice- 1 5 Aug 22, 2018 02:46PM  
Rabbit, Run 29 243 Jan 12, 2017 10:33PM  

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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 Redux (Rabbit Angstrom, #2)
  • Rabbit Is Rich (Rabbit Angstrom, #3)
  • Rabbit at Rest (Rabbit Angstrom #4)

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