Book Review: Rabbit Run

Rabbit Run

Title: Rabbit Run

Author: John Updike

Genre: Fiction

Read: Mid Sept 2010

Sum: Ambivalent

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I’ve read a good amount of Updike, but I’d never read this, so I figured I should. At first I liked it a lot, mostly for the prose. The prose is great. The third person present gives it that breezy literary quality — I’m not sure of this, but I have to assume Updike was a fairly early proponent of this tense/pov in fiction. As usual his sketch-like descriptions and wry humor engaged. But, about a third of the way through I found myself bogged down in the slow pace of the plot and the overly moralistic — or perhaps even post-modern amoralistic  — pandering. You can’t really like Rabbit. He’s kind of a shit, and the pastor fellow was really annoying. The book does have some graphic sexual moments, which Updike is always good for, but they aren’t really sexy. I pretty much had to force my way through the second half. Also, the daughter’s fate is also so avoidably unpleasant that it left me feeling unsettled. Maybe in the 50’s this whole “should vs. want” theme seemed more relevant but all it did for me was remind me thematically of Revolutionary Road. Overall (which I also had a similar reaction to). I can’t say I really enjoyed it, but I do have prose envy.

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