Rabbit Angstrom

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Rabbit Angstrom by John Updike
Hardcover $35.00

Oct 17, 1995 | 1568 Pages

  • Hardcover $35.00

    Oct 17, 1995 | 1568 Pages

Praise

FROM THE INTRODUCTION BY THE AUTHOR written especially for this edition:
“The character of Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom was for me a way in-a ticket to the America all around me … [These four related novels] became a kind of running report on the state of my hero and his nation . . . A some point between the second and third of the series, I began to visualize four completed novels that might together make a single coherent volume, a mega-novel. Now, thanks to Everyman’s Library, this volume exists, titled, as I had long hoped, with the name of the protagonist, an everyman who, like all men, was unique and mortal.”

“Taken together, this quartet of novels has given its readers a wonderfully vivid portrait of one Harry (Rabbit) Angstrom . . . The books have also created a Kodachrome-sharp picture of American life . . . from the somnolent 50s . . . into the uncertainties of the 80s.”
—THE NEW YORK TIMES

“The being that most illuminates the Rabbit quartet is not finally Harry Angstrom himself but the world through which he moves in his slow downward slide, meticulously recorded by one of the most gifted American realists . . . The Rabbit novels, for all their grittiness, constitute John Updike’s surpassingly eloquent valentine to his country.”
—Joyce Carol Oates, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

Author Essay

The United States, democratic and various though it is, is not an easy country for a fiction-writer to enter: the slot between the fantastic and the drab seems too narrow. An outsiderish literary stance is traditional; such masterpieces as Moby-Dick and Huckleberry Finn deal with marginal situations and eccentric, rootless characters; many American writers have gone into exile to find subjects of a congenial color and dignity. The puritanism and practicality of the early settlers imposed a certain enigmatic dullness, it may be, upon the nation’s
affective life and social texture. The minimization of class distinctions suppressed one of the articulating elements of European fiction, and a close, delighted grasp of the psychology of sexual relations -so important in French and English novels – came slowly amid the New World’s austerities. Insofar as a writer can take an external view of his own work, my impression is that the character of Harry ‘Rabbit’ Angstrom was for me a way in – a ticket to the America all around me. What I saw through Rabbit’s eyes was more worth telling than what I saw through my own, though the difference was often slight; his life, less defended and logocentric than my own, went places mine could not. As a phantom of my imagination, he was always, as the contemporary expression has it, there for me, willing to generate imagery and motion. He kept alive my native sense of wonder and hazard.

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