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Rabbit, Run
by John Updike

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.





Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (1 of 109), Read 86 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 01:04 PM I picked this up for $2, sat on the porch to read it, and whipped through the first 75 pages without a break, and promptly requested Rabbit Is Rich, Rabbit Redux and Rabbit At Rest from the library. For those who are unfamiliar with these books, they are the story of Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom, ex-basketball hero, and professional demonstrator of the Magic Peel Kitchen Peeler. He's married to Janice who, at the beginning of this book, is pregnant with their second child. He is not quite certain how he came to find himself where he is in life, with a pregnant wife whose "little mouth hangs open in a dumb slot." To quote a review by Angus Wilson: "(Rabbit, Run)..is sexy, in bad taste, violent, and basically cynical. And good luck to it." An incredibly good book.. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (2 of 109), Read 82 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 01:20 PM This book is not for those who are put off by extreme tackiness. Rabbit's thoughts are bizarre. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ EXTREME TACKINESS ALERT ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For example; he picks up a hooker and refers to her diaphram as her rubber kidney. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (3 of 109), Read 72 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 02:11 PM Is this the first book in the series? Steve and I and some others read the first book together a year or two ago, and I always intended to get back to the series but never did. Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (4 of 109), Read 76 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 02:49 PM Boy,,I sure missed out on some goood discussions. Yes, Ruth, this is the first. Rabbit Redux is the second, I believe..its the one I'm going to read next, at any rate. I'll probably start it tonight. I'm having a GREAT time here with Rabbit. (Do men REALLY think like this? I'm amazed!) Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (5 of 109), Read 82 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 02:50 PM Ah, Beej, you're sooooooo young. Fifties men definitely thought like that. Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (6 of 109), Read 94 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 02:57 PM Beej: I hope Mr. Warbasse will show up in this thread eventually, but for now let me say that I consider Updike's RABBIT series an absolutely towering achievement in American fiction. Ruth is right: 1950s men definitely thought and acted like that, and those of us 1960s and 1970s guys such as myself who didn't think and act like that caught the double whammy: we were (a)ostracized by our peers, and (b)demonized anyhow by the new consciousness that the feminist movement helped bring about. But, don't get me started.{G} I'm very glad you're reading Updike. Most of the female readers I know say they don't like Updike or can't "get into" him. Fair enough, but I think it's their loss when it comes to seeing the "bigger picture" of gender relations in a historical context and the kinds of role models that both genders were saddled with. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (7 of 109), Read 94 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 03:11 PM Yes, Beej. Here's where Theresa and I part company. I like Updike. Hmmm. "I like Updike." Sounds like a bumper sticker, doesn't it? Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (8 of 109), Read 94 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 03:18 PM So do I, Ruth..I think this book is absolutely brilliant. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (9 of 109), Read 100 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 03:15 PM I'm right here, Dale. Beej, I come to this from a little different perspective than Dale, who is undoubtedly the nicest damned male human being I know. I think exactly like Harry Angstrom does and always have with the one major exception of his politics. In other words, yes, tacky. As a result, this series has been a great big whoop for me through my life. Do drive on. You are in for some great adventures, including wife-swapping, sex with a daughter-in-law, and a whole bunch of other fun stuff. I only own two of the four, but I will score copies of the other two if we need to get right down to textual analysis. Don't forget Ruth (not our Ruth, the Ruth in the book--the one he shacks up with while separated from Janice). She remains an important character throughout this series and into the novella sequel recently published. Steve
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (10 of 109), Read 99 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 03:23 PM Its the tackiness that makes this book so delightful.. And I hope y'all do score the rest of them soon, because I'm whipping though these and they're just too good not to discuss .. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (11 of 109), Read 102 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 03:28 PM Novella sequel? What novella sequel? oh yes..Dale, ostracized and demonized? you dealt with a lot of crap in order to live up to your standards. You're a good man. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (12 of 109), Read 95 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Lee Beech (lee.beech@sympatico.ca) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 05:07 PM For some reason, I always avoided Updike -- maybe because I am an intellectual snob, and felt that he couldn't measure up to my stringent standards! Last year, my live book club decided we needed to expand our horizons, so we included Rabbit, Run on our list. To our amazement, we loved it, and after the discussion the library was swamped with requests for others in the series. I even read his most recent novel, the one which is the "pre-quel" to Hamlet, and loved it. Just goes to show that prejudices are not always based in fact!
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (13 of 109), Read 96 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Gail Singer (gailsinger_gross@hotmail.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 07:12 PM thanks LEE.. i will rethink RABBIT, RUN ...for our book group as we never did read any of his selections.. gail...a passionate reader always finding good reads from our CR's..!
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (14 of 109), Read 95 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 07:30 PM I'm finding that the more obnoxious Rabbit is, especially in his views/words/actions toward women, the funnier he becomes and the more I like him. One of the things that makes this character soooo funny, I think, is that his high opinion of himself borders on the absurd..Harry walks down the street singing a song..and what song does he sing?? "I'm Just Wild About Harry.." There is a small paragraph, however, that might explain his behavior in part.. "I once played a game (basketball) real well. I really did. And after you're first rate at something, no matter what, it kind of takes the kick out of being second rate. And that little thing Janice and I had going, boy, it was really second rate." The problem is, his marriage is not the only second rate thing in his life..so far it seems most everything in his life is second rate..even his car and his bedroom mirror are hand-me-downs. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (15 of 109), Read 98 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 08:01 PM Beej: Yes, I think that the reason Rabbit's self-justifications are at once so ludicrous and endearing is that they're only a slightly exaggerated version of our own--one of the attractions of all great literature, I think. Keep in mind that this guy's name is really "Harry Angstrom" a nerd name if there ever was one; "Rabbit" was his honorific upon becoming a high school basketball star. Turns out, the only thing Harry/Rabbit knows how to do is play basketball, and yet he didn't quite make the cut to the pro leagues. As a result, I think his life is a parable of all the people we know who "peaked early" in high school: the beauty queens and cheerleaders, as equally as the jocks. Updike is a "nerd" in that respect, and I think it's very ironic that he's considered a "guy's writer" when his triumph is that he shows--in the RABBIT series, most of all (exclusively?)--his former tormentors in all their glory, sadness, and humanity. But, I'm sure I can't view all of this with total objectivity. (PS: Hey, Steve! I'm so glad you joined this thread. I'm very honored by your endorsement of me as a kind and compassionate male. I just hope one of my ex-wives doesn't show up here and spoil the moment.{G}) >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (16 of 109), Read 105 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 08:16 PM Dale, your post reminds me of something I read just today.. "Literature does not begin to exist through the work of a single individual. It exists when it is adopted by others and becomes a part of social life--when it becomes, thanks to reading, a shared experience. ...(literature) is also an experience of learning what and who we are, in our human integrity and our human imperfection.." The New Republic online Why Literature Mario Vargas Llosa God knows, Rabbit is full of human imperfections, but who isn't?.. Perhaps laughing at Harry's imperfections is a way to not take ourselves, or our own human foibles, too seriously. I'll figure it out better as I get further in the series..hopefully. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (17 of 109), Read 90 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 09:04 PM Beej: One more thing to keep in mind... "What is an Angstrom? "An angstrom is a unit of measure named after Anders Jonas Angstrom (1814-1874), a Swedish physicist and pioneer in spectroscopy. The Angstrom Unit is a length equal to one hundred-millionth of a centimeter. It is used especially to specify radiation wavelengths. It is smaller than a micron and a particle an angstrom in size is able to enter the cell wall through the process of osmosis." So, Harry/Rabbit bears the name of a 19th century scientist whose greatest achievement (very close to an exact century before the RABBIT series begins) was identifying the smallest particle of the universe that was measurable in his time. Coincidence? >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (18 of 109), Read 92 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 09:13 PM One last thing (for tonight, anyway). I promise... I had no idea why Updike chose the epigraphs he did for the four books of RABBIT until I'd finished the final one, RABBIT AT REST. Only then did the epigraph for the third volume, RABBIT IS RICH, start to make sense: The difficulty to think at the end of day, When the shapeless shadow covers the sun And nothing is left except light on your fur... --Wallace Stevens, "A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts" >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (19 of 109), Read 94 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 09:17 PM Wow, Dale..that's really interesting. Do you think Updike chose this name (Angstrom) for that reason? How do you know these things? You must read a lot..:-) Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (20 of 109), Read 98 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 09:22 PM "A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts" That says it all. He really was a Rabbit as king of the ghosts. His days of royalty were dead..He just didn't know it. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (21 of 109), Read 93 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Theresa Simpson (theresa.a.simpson@gte.net) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 01:13 AM Hi Beej. We did have a great discussion here a while back. As I recall, I promised to read Rabbit, Run if Steve would read William Carlos Williams' "In the American Grain." I ended up reading the first two Rabbit books (I think Steve read some reviews or something of American Grain - he's missing out . . .). Anyway, my dislike of Updike isn't anywhere near as deep as I may have sometimes pretended here (it helps to roil up the discussion and things get interesting.) I agree about the humor - my favorite scene is Rabbit walking down the street after leaving his family, with all his clothes rolled up into a ball, and he runs into the Reverend. Hilarious conversation ensues. What I like about Updike is he lets the inherent humor speak for itself, instead of overplaying the elements. Of course, there's plenty I DON'T like about the dude. I'm trying to imagine the reaction to a novel that stated what WOMEN of the 50s really thought. Steve, Dale, et al. would you read such a book? Imagine it would it irk ya? Theresa
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (22 of 109), Read 95 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 06:53 AM Theresa, Didn't we recently discuss an Alice Munro story about a woman of the 50's? Did a woman of the 50's think? I always picture them as having their brains knotted up in their crinolines. That scene you mention was great. It probably loses a lot taken out of context, but when he is talking with the reverend about leaving his wife and mentions he has quit smoking, the reverend says, '.. "You're a better man than I am." He pauses and thinks, then looks at Harry with startled, arched eyebrows.' I'm still trying to figure Ruth (not our Ruth) out. One not-so-passionate roll around on the mattress, for which he has paid $15 (Rabbit calculates that given Ruth's weight of 150 lbs., he has paid a dime a pound for her..tackytackytacky) and Rabbit has suddenly found love? Or maybe she is fulfilling something more for Rabbit. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (23 of 109), Read 95 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 07:11 AM I think men still regard women..at least sexually..the same way Rabbit does. They are just afraid they will: a)get hit on the side of the head if they admit it. b)not get any 'hankey pankey' if they admit it. c)a combination of A and B. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (24 of 109), Read 98 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 07:35 AM There are two lines that really struck me as telling a lot about Rabbit. The first: 'That was the thing about him, he just lived in his skin and didn't give a thought to the consequences of anything.' The second: (Harry, speaking to Ruth) 'if you have the guts to be yourself other people'll pay your price.' Harry knows his choices have consequences. He just believes they will be borne by others and he will happily sail along through life. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (25 of 109), Read 94 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 10:35 AM Ahem. Careful how you talk about 50s women there, Beej. Ruth, admitting to a certain amount of crinoline poisoning ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (26 of 109), Read 77 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 02:25 PM Ruth, I think there are two types of 50's ladies..the Lucy Ricardo type and the Lauren Bacall type. You are definitely a Lauren. I'm almost done with Rabbit, Run and about to start Rabbit Redux. So is anybody willing to read this with me? Ruth??? Dale??? Steve??? Theresa??? Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (27 of 109), Read 78 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 02:44 PM I'll pick up Redux tomorrow, on my Life Support Activity Day. Ruth, former (I hope) 50s woman ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (28 of 109), Read 93 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 03:38 PM You are right on the money about one thing, Beej. Rabbit is a man whom I would absolutely detest in real life. However, as I wended my way through these books, I became utterly fond of him. The recent novella sequel is found in a collection called Licks of Love. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0375411135/constantreader Sara Sauers and I finally had the opportunity to hear John Updike speak here in Cedar Rapids about two months ago. I was on Cloud Nine. Setting aside my own bias, I would still urge anyone who has the chance to hear him speak to make the effort. He is marvelously entertaining in person. Beej, I have a pretty good recollection of Rabbit, Run, Rabbit is Rich, and Rabbit at Rest. However, not so good of Rabbit Redux for some reason. Perhaps I will look back into that one. Steve
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (29 of 109), Read 95 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 03:44 PM Dale, those ex-wives of yours are completely biased. Therefore, I consider them unworthy of belief and have entirely discounted their testimony concerning your despicable behavior. Steve
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (30 of 109), Read 92 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 03:47 PM Oh, thank you so much for providing me the link to the novella. Did Updike mention Rabbit at all? Rabbit is only 22 (I think) when the series starts.. It will be interesting to watch him mature. I hope he matures. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (31 of 109), Read 94 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 03:51 PM You know, reading about Rabbit is like watching somebody do a pratfall. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (32 of 109), Read 95 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 03:59 PM From the excerpt of Licks of Love: "...we survived by clustering together like a ball of snakes in a desert cave." Heehee. It's writing like that that makes me read Updike. Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (33 of 109), Read 96 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 04:01 PM Sort of gives you the tickles, doesn't it Ruth? I'm finding most of Rabbit affecting me the same way. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (34 of 109), Read 94 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 04:01 PM Beej: Yep, in effect Rabbit does a slow-motion pratfall over four decades. For readers of the future, I think the way Updike captures as background the voices and attitudes and spirit of each decade will be a treasure trove of on-the-ground Americana for readers, in addition to the story of Rabbit and other characters. I think Updike does a miraculous job of making that background real without letting it overshadow the story. Like Steve, I'm probably foggiest about REDUX, which is set in the flower-power era. Or maybe that was just a foggy era.{G} I'll try to read along as much as I'm able. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (35 of 109), Read 72 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 04:13 PM Dale, I am so happy that you, Ruth and Steve will be here to discuss this with me! Its been awhile since I've become this excited over a book. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (36 of 109), Read 73 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 04:17 PM from an Amazon.com review: Yes, Rabbit's life can be read as a tawdry, melodramatic, almost tragic soap-opera, but to do so would be missing the point. These books are also slyly, wickedly funny. How ridiculous, we think. Look at these bumpkins, struggling to find happiness through self-gratification. But how tragic. And how sad. Because we are contained in here too. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (37 of 109), Read 69 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Thursday, May 24, 2001 09:00 PM I think I have figured out why Harry likes Ruth..she asks nothing of him and expects nothing from him. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (38 of 109), Read 74 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 09:01 AM Ruth is an extremely strong person in my opinion. While I think she loves Rabbit (to the extent that I understand that term), she does a very good job of protecting herself from him emotionally as much as possible. As for me, I have long been deeply in love (to the extent that I understand that term) with Thelma Harrison. Dale knows this. Everyone who knows me knows this. I've made no secret of it. Steve
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (39 of 109), Read 79 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 09:06 AM On the other hand, I think that I probably actively dislike Janice more than most other readers. She is slovenly and tends toward sluttishness. She is an alcoholic. She is a ditz. Her ditziness is not of the harmless, amusing variety, however. Her ditziness in conjunction with her alcoholism results in the drowning death of the daughter in the bathtub for which I have never been able to forgive her. We always speak of how high school was the apex of Rabbit's life, but the same goes in spades for Janice. Steve
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (40 of 109), Read 81 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 09:19 AM Points very well taken, about Ruth and Thelma. Though, like Steve, I'm partial (an understatement) to Thelma, I believe both of them stand out in Rabbit's life because they're basically very good people, which cannot be said of most of the types he hangs out with. (Charlie Stavros obviously falls somewhere in the middle; very complex and intriguing guy.) One particular triumph of Updike's, I think, is that he can take a character as unloveable and annoying as Rabbit, and make me feel really sorry for him because of the cards he has been dealt re: his wife, Janice, and son Nelson. It's hard for me to think of two other characters in fiction who are at once totally realistic and so viscerally despicable to me. (PS: As offensive as I find Rabbit's debates about politics, particularly in REDUX, I swear Updike was prescient. If Rabbit were alive today, he could easily pass for a right-wing "intellectual" on the TV talk-show circuit, maybe even have his own show--a very scary state of affairs, to me.) >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (41 of 109), Read 84 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 09:31 AM Redux is coming back to me now, Dale. Thank you. This is the one wherein Janice is sleeping with Charlie Stavros. Also, this is the one featuring the very young Jill and the problematic Skeeter. And Rabbit becomes a pothead. I must reread. Don't you think that Updike rivals Faulkner in his creation of an entire Pennsylvania suburban world, comparable to the creation of Yoknapatawpha County? Steve
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (42 of 109), Read 83 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 09:31 AM Janice was slovenly straight from the beginning of the book, but I forgave her partly because she was pregnant and partly because Rabbit walked out on her. As I got further in the book I began to strongly dislike her, and began to sympathize with Rabbit. When Rabbit left after she rebuked and belittled him for wanting sex, and she went on that drinking binge, slapped her three year old son for not eating greasy bacon after the effort she put into into cooking it while drunk, I felt disgusted.. and then the awful drowning of the baby..I doubt Janice will redeem herself in my eyes for the rest of the series. I don't like her, either. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (43 of 109), Read 84 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 09:32 AM I was going to ask who Thelma is, but it seems I will meet her as I go on. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (44 of 109), Read 86 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 09:35 AM Beej: I can't remember whether Thelma first appears in REDUX or RABBIT IS RICH, but it's at a time when Harry most needs her. I'm sure Steve can speak more accurately on that aspect. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (45 of 109), Read 93 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 09:38 AM I've started Rabbit Redux..should we start a new thread on it? I know Ruth is starting it today, also. I plan on reading the entire Rabbit series without break. So I will meet all these folks as I continue. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (46 of 109), Read 89 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 09:45 AM My best recollection is that her first major appearance is in Rabbit is Rich. Did not the group trip to the Caribbean, or wherever, take place when everyone was doing well financially? That was when the wife swapping took place. Thelma is a classic--a relatively quiet, plain appearing woman at the outset. I well remember Rabbit's disappointment when he drew her. (Can't remember which one he really wanted.) However, Thelma turns out to be a veritable sexual odyssey for Rabbit. I had not difficulty with any of this because her husband, Ronnie, is so clearly a jerk. Beej, if you get upset about plot spoilers, tell me. I'm not paying any attention to that right now in these reminiscences because I really don't think that suspense about what's going to happen is the point at all here. Steve
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (47 of 109), Read 97 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 09:58 AM Oh no, Steve, I'm not upset about plot spoilers. I'm more into the psychological goings-on with the characters..what is making them what they are.. and I'm interested in what you and Dale are saying.. Please, continue. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (48 of 109), Read 93 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 10:32 AM Ruth is an extremely strong person in my opinion. Sigh. For one heady moment there, Steve, I thought you were talking about me. I'm picking Redux up at the library this morning, tho goddknows when I'll get it started. The Invasion of the Grandchildren starts this afternoon and will last until tomorrow afternoon. Sunday I plan on being tired. Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (49 of 109), Read 96 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 10:42 AM Beej, someday you will learn not to say to Ole Steve, "Please continue." That is ill-advised. Dale mentioned how these books constitute a valuable cultural history. In preparing to write them--they came out in roughly ten year intervals, each at the end of a decade--he must have taken daily notes on news events. For example, in Rabbit is Rich (my favorite because I'm a seventies guy) Ronnie Harrison tells the story he heard on the news about a golfer who bludgeoned a goose to death with his putter because the goose had honked just as he was preparing for a shot. I remember that story well. It was a real news story. These references to then current events are delightful. Also, the general cultural situation of the time is captured. Rabbit rationalizes the expense of the Caribbean trip to Janice by saying that they might as well spend their money before inflation eats it up. The gasoline shortage is there, too. The wife-swapping bit is a piece of cultural history. It was a big deal in the seventies, the time of Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice. It was married couples' way of getting in on the sexual revolution belatedly. Does anyone do that anymore? Likewise, the business of couples taking Polaroid pictures of themselves having sex. Nobody does that anymore, I don't think. It was a phenomenon of the time. Steve
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (50 of 109), Read 98 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 11:14 AM Couples taking Polaroid pictures of themselves having sex???? What did they do? Use their toes to snap the picture? This conjures up strange..albeit, interesting.. images in my mind... As I continue with Rabbit Redux, it just ticks me off to no end that Janice still drinks after what happened with her baby. To me, Janice will always be shrouded in that drowning. Did Harry forgive her? I don't know..I think he blames himself (I don't at all, except for the fact that he did insist in that first drink) But I don't forgive her. Its interesting to me that though it says Harry has not been called Rabbit for years, Updike still refers to him as Rabbit. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (51 of 109), Read 94 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 11:29 AM Oh, Ruth..I hope you get to start it soon. I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say about it. (Steve, about that golf story..my father-in-law used to insist a friend of his hit the ball into a pond, a goose swooped down, picked it up and dropped it into the intended hole, making it a hole in one.) Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (52 of 109), Read 85 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: S. Bohinka (bohinka@riconnect.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 11:39 AM You all got me interested in these now. :) Where would be a good place to start? Does it matter? Steve mentioned one because it was a 70s type book--a good place for me to start or should I go back to an earlier book so I don't miss something? Bo
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (53 of 109), Read 90 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 11:42 AM Oh, good! Another Rabbit reader!!!!! I am a beginner in these books, but I would strongly recommend starting with the first..'Rabbit, Run'. I think you would miss out on too much to start in midstream with any of the other novels. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (54 of 109), Read 88 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 12:24 PM Bo: I agree with Beej...the four RABBIT books are self-contained, but they're such a richer universe if you start at the beginning and know the characters' histories. I don't think you'll regret starting at RABBIT, RUN and reading the series. Another thing I admire about Updike is how varied his writings are, the RABBIT persona being not at all typical of his fiction. For writings about marriage/divorce/kids, two of his best and most affecting (I think) short stories explore the experience in a narrative voice as unlike Rabbit's as I can imagine: "Separating," and "Deaths of Distant Friends." When you crave more Updike but need a temporary break from Rabbit, those are great to dip into. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (55 of 109), Read 92 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 12:27 PM Dale, I've read Separating, and almost nominated it for discussion in the short story conference instead of the Cheever story..Maybe I still will at a later date..Its a very good story. I think. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (56 of 109), Read 96 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 12:32 PM Goodness gracious, Bo! Of course you should start with the first one. Rabbit, Run in many ways is still the best. If this is not your cup of tea, then stop, but the later books have so much more depth if you are familiar with all the history of these characters. I can't believe this question about the Polaroids, Beej. You're kidding! Really, how old are you anyway? Polaroid cameras had already been around for a long while in the early seventies. Still, the real implications of not having to turn film in for developing seemed to dawn on all of us at once right then. Steve
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (57 of 109), Read 108 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 12:34 PM Now, Steve...I can fully understand individual photos..but polaroid photos taken of a COUPLE involved in this recreation requires a third person, doesn't it?? Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (58 of 109), Read 109 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 12:36 PM Beej & Steve: Let's see...when was the self-timer for cameras invented?{G} Such cutting-edge innovations really have unpredictable implications for the cultural Zeitgeist, don't they? >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (59 of 109), Read 115 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 12:38 PM But, Dale, I don't think polaroid cameras have a self timer..at least I don't think they did in the seventies. Thus, I think folks must have used their toes, or...whatever... Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (60 of 109), Read 111 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 12:51 PM Beej: I did a quick trolling through Polaroid collector Web sites and found ColorPack models with accessory self-timer available in 1971 or so. A couple of years later, Polaroid offers a model called the "Swinger" and a model called the "Big Swinger." Coincidence? Surely.{G} >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (61 of 109), Read 109 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 12:53 PM ANYWAY..to get this back on track, this is from the cover of the book: re'dux:adj.(L.,fr.reducere to bring back) Lit.,led back; specif., Med., indicating return to health after a disease. ---Webster's New International Dictionary. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (62 of 109), Read 118 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 12:58 PM From Dale; A couple of years later, Polaroid offers a model called the "Swinger" and a model called the "Big Swinger." Hahahahahaaaaaa!!!!!!! How funny!!!!!! You're incorrigible...!! And btw..I am well old enough to remember the 70's...and the 60's. No Spring chicken here, which goes to show you, its not the age, its the experience! (or, in this specific matter, the lack thereof..) Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (63 of 109), Read 122 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 01:13 PM I think I can bring this discussion around full circle here if I mention that in a past Updike discussion I got in trouble for saying I loved Updike's shorts. Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (64 of 109), Read 128 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 01:16 PM hahhaha!! and where, pray tell, did you see Updike's shorts, Ruth? Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (65 of 109), Read 128 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 01:45 PM A subject that also requires a closer look. In Rabbit is Rich the elastic waistbands of Harry's shorts are always shot. (He has developed a gut.) He knows he should still be buying Jockeys, but cheap substitutes at the new large stores are so popular that Jockeys are difficult to find. "Value" had driven out quality. The Carter administration is exactly when that happened. I now realize you're putting me on, Beej. Your particular brand of false naÔvetť is more difficult to detect than the usual. The camera in question, Dale, was something called an SX-70. Steve
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (66 of 109), Read 126 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 01:51 PM Great "short" subject, Steve & Ruth. And Beej: I'm honored to be called incorrigible, but I'm not making this Polaroid stuff up. Also, I let slide your comment that these couples must have been pressing the shutter with "a toe...or whatever." For me, it would definitely have been a toe.{G} Ahem. Back to literature. I promise. >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (67 of 109), Read 129 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 01:56 PM Look here, Dale. It was all my fault, not yours. Let's get back on topic now and discuss the advent of the compact video camera that you can hold and operate with one hand. Steve
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (68 of 109), Read 147 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 02:00 PM No. Please wait a minute here! My brand of false naivete??? Not false...simply raised Catholic. My experiences are more limited than yours, is all. okay, now that I've defended my honor..carry on with literature. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (69 of 109), Read 135 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 02:24 PM In the beginning of Rabbit Redux, Harry works with his father in the printing business.. obviously, he is conforming. And I'm glad to hear he becomes involved in more nonconformist activities down the road. I was beginning to worry about Rabbit. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (70 of 109), Read 131 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 02:54 PM Oh, and Dale? I'm sure you had better things to do with...whatever... Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (71 of 109), Read 137 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 03:02 PM Beej: In REDUX, just about all the players "non-conform" in a major way. Cruel irony upon cruel irony, Rabbit and his father were both Linotype operators (a very labor-intensive, specialized, and hazardous craft using molten metal to create pages for a printing press) just before the "offset" printing method--both photographic and computerized, also known as "cold type"--that is ubiquitous today comes along to make their trade an antiquity. Another thing that strikes me on starting REDUX is how sex is never absent long in these four novels, even if only in metaphor and imagery. For example, Janice gets a part-time job (doing the books...yeah, right) for an automobile dealer (i.e., Charlie Stavros). When Rabbit calls her to complain that she's never home, Janice shows this deep empathy with the fading nature of Rabbit's printing profession: "Yeah. Look, Janice. It sounds like you're having a lot of fun over there--" "Fun? I'm working, sweetie." "Sure. Now what the **** is really going on?" "What do you mean, 'going on'? Nothing is going on except your wife is trying to bring home a little extra bread." Bread? "'Going on'--really. You may think your seven or whatever dollars an hour you get for sitting in the dark diddling that machine is wonderful money, Harry, but the fact is a hundred dollars doesn't buy anything any more, it just goes..." *** Ah, nothing like a supportive spouse. I was working as a newspaper reporter in 1971, and seven dollars an hour would have been a gold mine. Beej: I think REDUX definitely deserves its own new thread; would you do the honors? This time out, no sex talk. (Just kidding.{G}) >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (72 of 109), Read 134 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 03:05 PM I would be honored to start a Redux thread. I've been just waiting for the word. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (73 of 109), Read 129 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 03:11 PM Okay!..we now have a Rabbit Redux thread.. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (74 of 109), Read 101 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Theresa Simpson (theresa.a.simpson@gte.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 10:50 PM Going back to the thoughts of those women of the 50s in their crinolines (that's that netting type of slip to make your skirt pouf out, right?) I'll bet they were as lurid as Rabbit's, under that veneer. They were all Sylvia Plaths and that Music Swims Back to Me/Flee on Your Donkey poet thinkers underneath it all. I'll betcha . . . Theresa
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (75 of 109), Read 108 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Friday, May 25, 2001 11:48 PM Alas, Theresa. You'd lose. Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (76 of 109), Read 122 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dick Haggart (law@haggart.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 01:12 AM No, I'm afraid almost all women of the 50's and 60's actually were hopeless sluts and libertines, Ruth. Apparently you were caught in some kind of Puritan, southern California time-warp. Rare, but it happens. Dick In The 21st Century
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (77 of 109), Read 112 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 07:30 AM Gee, Dick, looks like I missed out again. I guess I was caught in some kind of Puritan, North Alabama time warp during those years.{G} >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (78 of 109), Read 109 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 07:51 AM Can't you just picture Dick up there in Alaska, sitting in an igloo, rolling a joint and chomping funny brownies, surrounded by a bevy of hopeless sluts? Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (79 of 109), Read 110 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 07:53 AM ..lazily clicking the shutter of his polaroid camera..... with his toe? Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (80 of 109), Read 116 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 08:01 AM Beej: Alas, when I young, there were always reported sightings of hopeless sluts (sometimes even hopeful sluts), but they all occurred at least one county distant from me. Now I come to find out they were as far away as Alaska.{G} >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (81 of 109), Read 118 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 08:20 AM Hahahhaahaaaa! HA!!!!!! Well, you just didn't travel far enough in your youth, is all! Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (82 of 109), Read 121 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 08:24 AM But, then again, Dale..you might not have missed much..those folks up there think rubbing noses is having sex.. Maybe Dick just rubbed a lot of noses. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (83 of 109), Read 113 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 10:58 AM Most of us 50s sluts spent a lot of time reading those Puritan, southern California time-warp magazines. The ones that reiterated the dreadful fate, the ruined lives of young women who..... . . . . . . . . . . . . .called a young man on the phone. Gasp! Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (84 of 109), Read 104 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Pres Lancaster (plancast@neteze.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 11:35 AM No dearth of imagination here. pres
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (85 of 109), Read 105 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 12:43 PM Wasn't this about the time Playboy magazine came into existence? Boy oh, boy! talk about a conflict in interests! Here are all the young guys trying to find their personal playmate, and all the young women, gloved hands in lap, sitting by the phone, waiting for these guys to phone..while all the young guys are hiding in their rooms staring at the playmate of the month. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (86 of 109), Read 55 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Edd Houghton (eddh@pacbell.net) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 05:48 PM Say what you will, as far as I'm concerned, the fifties women have been often emulated, but never surpassed. EDD a fifties guy.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (87 of 109), Read 59 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Gail Singer (gailsinger_gross@hotmail.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 07:08 PM greetings CERTIFIED BOOK JUNKIE.. DALE.. now you gave me my laugh for the day!! you always know how to write something that tickles my fancy!! you are certainly in the right PROFESSION... gail..a passionate reader
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (88 of 109), Read 58 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Gail Singer (gailsinger_gross@hotmail.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 07:09 PM RIGHT ON , MR. EDD!! gail
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (89 of 109), Read 65 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 07:18 PM Dale isn't only funny, Gail..he's SMART! What a combination,huh? Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (90 of 109), Read 49 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 10:53 PM I think Playboy came later, Beej. I'm sure they weren't around in the early 50s, when I was in bloom. Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (91 of 109), Read 59 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: David Moody (davidmoody@prodigy.net) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 11:15 PM The first issue of Playboy appeared in December, 1953. David, who, while looking this up, found that the first work of fiction to appear in Playboy was a reprint of Fahrenheit 451 beginning in March 1954.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (92 of 109), Read 53 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Saturday, May 26, 2001 11:41 PM Just when this Puritan, southern California time-warp babe was a college freshman. Who knew? Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (93 of 109), Read 42 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dottie Randall (randallj@ix.netcom.com) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 02:25 AM On 5/26/01 11:41:36 PM, R Bavetta wrote: >Just when this Puritan, >southern California time-warp >babe was a college freshman. >Who knew? > >Ruth > >ďAin't it funny how an old >broken bottle looks just like >a diamond ring." John Prine > Ruth -- I am convinced that we -- as humans -- tend to live our own lives in a state of unconsciousness relative to our own times no matter what we actually hear, see, know or are being taught of our own histories as we are living. I have moments of revelation of fact such as your Playboy ca 1953 and I love your Puritan, time-warp babe definition -- it's a perfect description of my own out of step-with-my own-times feeling when I look back. Usually, prompted to look back by such discoveries as the above - {G}. Dottie -- whose only (as far as the leaky grey sieve serves me) Updike experience is the one struggled through here and finished at home and thrown into the trash when finished -- would Rabbit counteract a bad taste in my mouth so bad that I actually threw that book in the TRASH not the give away or used book bags? ID is an oxymoron!
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (94 of 109), Read 45 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Sherry Keller (shkell@starband.net) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 07:03 AM I read Rabbit, Run as a teenager. Updike was quite the thing when I was in high school. Of course, I had to hide it from my mother. I even did a senior English paper on The Centaur. But I know I was much much too young to really get Rabbit. After I finish Emma Blau I think it's time I did a reread. I have a nice big Quality Paperback edition with all three books in it (I'll have to use a hoist to hold it up!) Did I hear there's a fourth book? What's it's name? Sherry
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (95 of 109), Read 48 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 07:49 AM Sherry, With the novella, there are five Rabbit books: 'Rabbit, Run'..'Rabbit Redux'..'Rabbit Is Rich'..'Rabbit At Rest'..and the novella in the book 'Links of Love' for which Steve provides an Amazon.com link in post 28. (I thought there were only four Rabbit books until he mentioned the novella.) Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (96 of 109), Read 46 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 09:18 AM Dottie, I am very curious as to what it was about the Rabbit book that bothered you so much.. Was it the sexual content, or Rabbit's views of women, or the drowning of the baby? Or was it simply Updike's style in general? Have you read any other Updike stories? (I'm toying with the idea of reading the Bech series next.) Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (97 of 109), Read 47 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 10:20 AM Dottie, the time-warp phrase was Dick's not mine. I know I wasn't nearly as puritan as the times demanded, and suffered gallons of guilt for it. I'm curious, too, as to why you threw Updike in the trash. One of my main attractions to Updike is that he just writes so damn well. Sometimes I think I'd read a laundry list if it was written well. Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (98 of 109), Read 54 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 11:33 AM Ruth writes: One of my main attractions to Updike is that he just writes so damn well. Sometimes I think I'd read a laundry list if it was written well. Ruth: Amen, to that. I'm a hopeless sucker for good writing. It blinds me to a multitude of other faults any piece might have. Updike is often criticized by other writers for "not liking" his own characters; arguable, but I think it's a lot more complex than they put it. In any event, I keep going back to Ezra Pound's contention that "the sole morality of writing is fundamental accuracy of statement." To me, the RABBIT books are as fundamentally accurate in statement about the world-as-it-is as any body of work I know. Love/hate these people (and/or the author), they're undoubtably real to me. I know people who are like them, and I know them, and feel for them as if they were real. Go, John. End of sermon. (After all, it's Sunday.{G}) >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (99 of 109), Read 46 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 11:48 AM Dealing with Rabbit is like dealing with the cousin you really can't stand to be around very long..He's part of your life so you just accept him as he is, like him or not. Somebody here compared the realism of the town and the people of this book to Faulkner's Snopes..how true. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (100 of 109), Read 49 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 11:50 AM I can tell you Rabbit was alive and well in Canoga Park High School in Los Angeles in 1952. He's now managing a motel in Palm Springs. Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (101 of 109), Read 56 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 11:53 AM We all really do know Rabbit, don't we? Isn't that part of his success? And I bet if we looked closely, we could find him even in Yoknapatawpha County, going by another name.. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (102 of 109), Read 51 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Dale Short (dshort@bham.rr.com) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 12:14 PM Ruth, Beej, & All: Yep, there's a whole host of Rabbits across Alabama in the business community...college football stars who didn't make pro, but who the colleges' more wealthy alumni helped set up in their own businesses. The most popular categories seem to be (a)automobile dealerships (!), (b)insurance, (c)sports bar-and-grills, and (d)pleasure boat sales and service. They're making good money, they've got name recognition, and many are generous to charities. But you have to wonder about their inner lives, when probably their proudest possession is the scratchy 16-millimeter film footage of their glory days on the gridiron. Is there something about this phenomenon that's particularly American, I wonder? Leading to Fitzgerald's statement that "American lives have no second acts"? >>Dale in Ala.
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (103 of 109), Read 50 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 12:41 PM Gosh, Dale. What a thought provoking post you wrote. Do you know who it brings to my mind, though on a much bigger scale? O.J. Simpson. I'm not comparing Rabbit to OJ in anyway outside of the tie of past glory as a sports great, and how that can affect a person's choices in life. Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (104 of 109), Read 62 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 12:44 PM Wasn't there also a Rabbit in Stingo's earlier life, in Sophie's Choice? Maybe there is a bit of Rabbit in all of us, in one way or another. Maybe Updike is pulling out that part of us that we would rather keep covered, and shoving our noses in it. ..(I keep thinking of that kid's song Little Bunny Foo Foo..the ending says..'Hare today, goon tomorrow.' It just seems so appropriate for this discussion!) Beej
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (105 of 109), Read 52 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Anne Wilfong (anne.wilfong@gte.net) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 05:18 PM Sherry, I have a similar volume of Updike's four RABBIT novels. I read RABBIT, RUN as a senior in high school and remember loving the sarcasm then, but remember little else. Give a shout when you're ready to start it, and I'll join you. I'm into some nonfiction now, so any time will be good! Anne
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (106 of 109), Read 28 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: David Moody (davidmoody@prodigy.net) Date: Sunday, May 27, 2001 10:30 PM Just hopping over to the left. David
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (107 of 109), Read 35 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: R Bavetta (rbavetta@prodigy.net) Date: Monday, May 28, 2001 01:03 AM Hopping? Groan. Ruth ďAin't it funny how an old broken bottle looks just like a diamond ring." John Prine
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (108 of 109), Read 43 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Steve Warbasse (wk4@qwest.net) Date: Monday, May 28, 2001 06:20 AM Beej, I just don't have a major itch to reread Rabbit Redux right now, but I am well into a reread of Rabbit is Rich, my favorite. It's the best way I could see to stay with you since you seem to be flying through these. I will be lying in wait for you there. You better not quit now. Steve
Topic: Rabbit, Run: John Updike (109 of 109), Read 46 times Conf: CONSTANT READER From: Beej Connor (connorva@mindspring.com) Date: Monday, May 28, 2001 08:15 AM Don't worry! I'm in this to the end! My fear is that when I am done, I will miss Rabbit. He is becoming a significant other. Hard to believe I only met him last week. Beej

 

 

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