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

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  999 Ratings  ·  93 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
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 27th 2001 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published November 7th 2000)
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Rating details
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Jan 04, 2009 rated it liked it
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 20, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: completists
Shelves: 2016
People talk about the Rabbit tetralogy and they rarely acknowledge the fifth coda of a novella, included in this collection. It's called Rabbit, Remembered, and it isn't. This is because it's totally unnecessary. It's not bad, it's just irrelevant.

It picks up about a decade after Rabbit's death, and here come some spoilers for this and previous Rabbit books. (view spoiler)
Sep 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Chris Gager
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Rebecca F.
Feb 05, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Nov 26, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 29, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Michael Finocchiaro
This was a brilliant finish to the Rabbit Angstrom series with typically melancholy prose, vivid characters, gentle reminders of the 4 previous books and even - no, really? - a happy end. The other short stories are also great. It is amazing how in a few short pages, Updike breathes so much life into his characters.
Vivienne Strauss
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Updike often works a landscape that might seem colorless and lacking in nuance - middle-class middle-America - yet he invests that landscape with a richness and vitality that transcends category and confounds expectation. He uses a palette deep and sensuous to paint these word portraits, and he never has failed to make me wonder at his artistry, skill, and intelligence.
I have read most of his novels and many of his stories. The Rabbit series of four novels is one of the literary achievements of
Antonio Papadourakis
12 διηγήματα και 1 νουβέλα (Ας ξαναθυμηθούμε το Λαγό) που είναι και το καλύτερο.
"Ήταν όμως χαρούμενος που βρισκόταν ξανά σε μια παλιοπαρέα, που και που, βγαίνοντας έξω στον κόσμο, έπαιρνε μαζί τουγια λάφυρο την περηφάνια του μέλους, της αποδοχής. "
"Οι περισσότεροι από τους καλλιτέχνες δεν αντέχουν καν τις κορνίζες, λένε πως είναι παγίδες για το μυαλό. Θέλουν τα έργα τους να δείχνουν αυθόρμητα και μισούν τον τετραγωνισμό γενικώς. Εμείς όμως πιστεύουμε ότι οι πελάτες νιώθουν πιό εφησυχασμένοι όταν
Dean Hanley
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Having just read the complete Rabbit Tetralogy for the third time, I wanted to read the novella, "Rabbit Remembered," that is a sequel to those excellent works. And my response is, it's a pleasant tale but there's really no very good reason to read it. Nelson and his newly discovered half-sister are the protagonists - but without Harry Angstrom himself, there's nothing really compelling in the story.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-read
I wanted to read this mainly for "Rabbit Remembered", to complete the Rabbit saga that I read this year. This short novel is a fitting cap to the saga. It's strange to realize how the man's influence continues to permeate the lives of those he left behind.
I was also excited to read some other works from Updike. Some of the short stories collected here are nothing short of amazing.
Mark Jurgensen
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Just read "Rabbit Remembered." The novella is ok, but I think Updike would have been better off ending the series with "Rabbit at Rest."
Paul Apsley
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good collection of stories from Updike later in life. Also, nice to have a Henry Bech and Rabbit Angstrom story.
Rene Bonilla
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read all 4 Rabbit books and this collection in one month and I have Couples waiting for me. Updike is like crack cocaine, it's no good foe you but it's addicting.
Jon Cohen
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A stunner. Naughty, in a kind of 1980's way, but the writing is blindingly acute and astute.
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: updike
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the novella continuing the Rabbit series, but most of these short stories weren't for me. They got repetitive (it could of been the same guys cheating on their wives) and the ones that were different were weird.
Apr 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
I mainly got hold of this volume to follow up on the Rabbit series. The other short stories help to underscore the impression I got of Updike reading the earlier Rabbit novels: he writes extensivevly about the effects of the sexual revolution on middle America.

It's not a pretty sight, but as I look around me, I see that virtually everyone I know has been impacted by it, directly or indirectly. I think that's why I kept returning to the Rabbit series.

In the final novella, we see Rabbit's son, his
Jay Winters
Dec 07, 2010 rated it liked it
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
James F
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Dec 17, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Nov 12, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Amanda Carver
Sep 25, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Ruqaiya Said
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Serge Pierro
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
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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.” 4 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.” 1 likes
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