I must confess this is a re-read but a worthy one. I’d forgotten Updike’s fabulous prose and Harry Angstrom.
Harry is the eponymous Rabbit; 26 year old father, married to an alcoholic and stuck in a dead-end job, who has never eclipsed the glory days of his high school basketball career. And, as the title suggests, he continually tries to run away from it all.
As a character, Rabbit is pretty despicable, although (apparently) relatable at times for men. In fact virtually none of the characters are that likeable- we see them in all their flawed, suburban purgatory.
Updike’s magic is how he tells us the mundane and unpalatable truths of domestic life in such a beautiful way. His writing is dense with meaning and nuance, but still fast and progressive.
This is very much a man’s book about a man’s world. The commitment-phobia of Rabbit is worthy of a thousand women’s magazine articles. It’s paragraphs and paragraphs about the male ego. But I’m willing to forgive because it’s so fascinatingly and gorgeously written.
Read: As a cautionary tale when you’re tempted to sack in the job and run away.