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Rabbit Run sees author John Updike at his towering best.
The first part in this life cycle of Rabbit Armstrong charts his entry into manhood and his inability to cope with the responsibilities and structure that crowd in around him as he makes the transition from star athlete to 'everyday Joe'.
The sparkle of his success on the basketball court has elevated his self-esteem to the point where Rabbit is initially incapable of dealing with the mundane and we are equally torn between our sympathy for this young man and our contempt for his obvious narcissism.
As the novel unfolds, Updike describes in intimate detail the way that the ties of family, the opinion of the community and his own emotions serve to rein Rabbit in and to try and bring him back to the family unit that he has rejected.
As well as a moving family saga and modern day bildungsroman, the Rabbit quadrilogy presents a vivid depiction of life in modern America. As family life unfolds for Rabbit, the world is moving on around him and Updike presents a living, breathing snapshot of America as he saw it. Very few artists have the integrity to capture historical periods as well as Updike and the effect this has on our appreciation of both the book and our own shared history is breathtaking!
To millions of Americans, Rabbit Angstrom is like a member of the family. They have followed him through RABBIT RUN, RABBIT REDUX and RABBIT IS RICH. We meet him for the first time in this novel, when he is 22, and a salesman in the local department store. Married to the second best sweetheart of his high school years, he is the father of a preschool son and husband to an alcoholic wife. The unrelieved squalor and tragedy of their lives remind us that there are such people, and that salvation, after all, is a personal undertaking.