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Rabbit Is Rich
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Product Description

Winner of the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
Ten years after RABBIT REDUX, Harry Angstrom has come to enjoy prosperity as the Chief Sales Representative of Springer Motors. The rest of the world may be falling to pieces, but Harrry's doing all right. That is, until his son returns from the West, and the image of an old love pays a visit to his lot....


From the Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews:

  • the american consumer
    Rabbit is Rich is a vast compendium of detail and more detail about American life in the 1979 and 1980. Updike clutters the novel with overviews of Consumer Report articles, magazine ads, TV shows, the every present demand of things to be bought and sold, money to be exchanged for goods and services. And of course, this is the point. Rabbit is rich, and these riches bring with them a measure of both security and insecurity. He can make love to Janice of a bed of South African Krugerrand, but not stop his son as accepting a snow mobile as a trade in for a car on the family Toyota lot. He can hold his first granddaughter in his lap and realize that she is the last nail in his coffin while he yearns to find the grown daughter he may or may not have fathered. Rabbit is Rich presents a nuanced portrait of all its characters, and we get to see all their beauty and ugliness without a shred of sentimentality or bias. This makes for difficult reading at times, but this is mitigated by Updike's upfront narrative style, the ease and proficiency of his prose; the reader feels secure in the hands of this narration. We are being taken on a journey, for good or ill, and we will get there in good shape or bad....more info
  • "Let me tell you something about Toyotas"
    Another decade has passed in the lives of the Angstrom family, so it must be time for a crisis of Sturm-und-Drang proportions. Fortunately, in the third (and best) installment of Updike's series, the calamities rely on a lot less Sturm and a little more Drang. Although he is occasionally haunted by ghosts from past catastrophes, Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom has grown comfortably wealthy in his middle years and the ills that afflict him--his persistent paunch, his defiant son, his rarely sober wife, his far-too-small home that he shares with his dominating mother-in-law--all are more suitable to the American Everyman he is meant to be, a patriot whose intellectual depths can be found in back issues of Consumer Reports. Meanwhile, the world around him seems to be falling apart--there are lines to get gasoline, there are hostages in Iran, there are Russians in Afghanistan--problems that seem remote indeed to a Toyota dealer in suburban Pennsylvania.

    So when life's predicaments intrude, Harry sees them sometimes as opportunities, sometimes as annoyances. The gas shortage, a burden to everyone else, is a windfall to Harry's car business; one of the book's recurring gags is his near-religious belief in his own dealership spiel. The fluctuation in gold prices motivates him to buy krugerrands (a transaction that results in one of the book's most hilarious scenes). Even the discovery that he may or may not have a grown daughter living in the suburbs is a source of curiosity and nostalgia rather than distress.

    In the annoyance column, however, is surely his son, dropping out of college, returning home with two girlfriends, one of them pregnant, and demanding a place in the family business. The love-hate relationship between Harry and Nelson is perhaps Updike's finest prose portrait; like most fathers and sons, the warring pair are grotesquely incapable of seeing their similarities and have become expert at amplifying their differences.

    It wouldn't be a Rabbit novel without a trendy sex scene appropriate to 1979--spouse swapping, in this case--although here it's a source of whimsical longing rather than marital angst. And, like Philip Roth's Mickey Sabbath, Rabbit maintains both a libido that swerves to every attractive young woman whose wake he crosses and an immature lack of decorum that allows him to paw through his friends' intimate belongings. But these are just flashbacks to youth in a comfortable middle age. Rabbit has mellowed; he has learned to resign himself to the downsides of life's upsides. Even the grandchild "he has been waiting for" is just "another nail in his coffin."...more info
  • Updike's Brilliant and Fun Look at 80s America
    The third in the series of Rabbit books, Updike has glorious fun with Rabbit as the prosperous owner of a Toyota dealership. Flush with money, Rabbit navigates the world of upper-class America in his usual bumbling and yet insightful way. Updike has lots of sly fun with 80's style Reagan values of "greed is good." A classic.

    Donald Gallinger is the author of The Master Planets...more info
  • The Quiet Interlude
    The most active, violent even, Rabbit novel (Redux) is followed by the quietest, much like the Second Movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is followed by the Third Movement. Rabbit faces middle age with a sureness of hand that many would admire, but he cannot stop the stupidity and self-destruction of those around him whom he loves. Rather than succumb to the impotence of his inability to save the world (HIS world) by becoming bitter and withdrawn, he continues at least to be supremely true to himself. The rewards follow. It's just that they are not the expected rewards. For Rabbit, they are never the expected rewards....more info
  • Flush times for Harry Angstrom
    This is the third of the four Rabbit novels. Ten more years have elapsed since the end of the second novel (RABBIT REDUX), and by now things are looking up for Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom. He's been working in his father-in-law's Toyota dealership these ten years, becoming the head of it after Fred Springer dies (though crafty Fred has left 51% of the ownership to his daughter Janice and wife Bessie), and these are flush times. But not everything is perfect: Harry still has troubles with his son Nelson, who works with him at the dealership and is heavy into drugs. In tone, this is the lightest and most comical of the Rabbit books, achieved mainly by Updike by giving all the women in the book the upper hand. There are also many individual comic scenes, most dealing with Harry's new-found wealth and materialism, and also sexual situations. (The mate swapping scene, which goes from disappointment to delight for Harry, and eventually leads to a long-term affair for Harry and Thelma, is wonderfully developed.) Winner of the Pulitzer and National and American Book Awards, this is definitely John Updike at the peak of his form.

    ...more info
  • Updike by the numbers
    ...which is not really the condemnation it appears. Updike is a fantastic writer who conveys every human experience with knowing poetic accuracy. His expressive tools are absolutely unmatched, and he remains one of my favorite authors. However, storytelling has never been his strong point, and this is no page turner. Not a whole lot happens to Rabbit, and there is little dramatic escalation to engage the reader. Middle-class sensibilities are authentically captured as always (though I could do without the surprisingly casual racism of these characters), but it's been done better in the service of more interesting narratives. My knowledge of his work is by no means comprehensive, but for expressive language wedded to provocative stories, I much prefer Roger's Version and S., as well as some of his earlier short stories. Updike's the best, but the Rabbit series seems a little flat....more info