Thursday, May 12, 2005

"Rabbit, Run" by John Updike: A Review

I found at the start of the book that I quite liked the main character of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, and disliked his alcoholic, pregnant wife Janice. However, as the book went on, I found my dislike spreading to both characters, although feeling more pity than disdain for Janice.

The way that Harry treats the women in his life (with little respect or concern) made me dislike him, yet at the same time being fascinated by him and his motives. I found his "running" away from the responsibilities in his life very real, yet quite sad. His life is a mess, largely of his own doing and it's fascinating to gainan insight into how he ticks.

The way Updike writes in the present tense makes the book read like a film, the events playing out in real time. His use of language is excellent, for instance when Janice is drunk in the house with the new baby, yet again abandoned by Harry, and is trying to make everything presentable for her mother coming round: the language is long, rambling sentences with no pucntuation, stream-of-consciousness style. This really gives an insight into her state of mind.

While, in terms of plot, the story is not exactly 'page-turning', th epsychology between the characters certainly is, as is the desire to understand Harry's motives. This has been one of those books which when you finish it, leaves you jealous of the way it's written. Despite it being one of the darkest books I have ever read, it is definitely one of the most interesting in terms of language and characterisation.


At 4:19 pm, Blogger Ben said...

Hi Michelle, thanks for your comment on Silent Words. I can't seem to find an email address on your site - could you drop me an email to and I'll get back to you. Cheers.

At 3:54 pm, Blogger Larry said...

Look into "Rabbit Redux," the second novel in the "Rabbit tetralogy."


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