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1. Rabbit Angstrom: A Tetrology:
2. My Father's Tears: And Other Stories
3. The Early Stories: 1953-1975
4. Golf Dreams
5. Couples
6. Self-Consciousness
7. Rabbit, Run
8. Due Considerations: Essays and
9. In the Beauty of the Lilies
10. The Maples Stories (Everyman's
11. The Centaur
12. Terrorist: A Novel
13. Rabbit at Rest
14. Still Looking: Essays on American
15. Odd Jobs: Essays and Criticism
16. Rabbit Novels Vol. 1
17. Rabbit Redux
18. Licks of Love: Short Stories and
19. Endpoint and Other Poems
20. Couples

1. Rabbit Angstrom: A Tetrology: Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit at Rest
by John Updike
Hardcover: 1519 Pages (1995-10-17)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679444599
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Four works in one volume ... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Interesting -- This "Redux" Contains Material Excluded from Orginal Published Version
As I recently read all four of the Rabbit novels (and Rabbit Remembered) in paperback, I borrowed the Tetralogy from the library only to read Updike's Introduction, explaining his work on the four novels. And I'm glad I read the Intro, as Updike reveals therein that the Tetralogy version of Rabbit Redux has reinserted a lengthy passage, featuring Rabbit, Run's Rev. Jack Eccles, edited out of the original version, and thus not found in any printing of Redux issued up until the Tetralogy. The passage occurs very near the end of Section II, "Jill"; as originally published, Rabbit leaves his parents' home and takes the bus back to his house, with the bus trip taking only two paragraphs. In the Intro of the Tetralogy, though, Updike writes that he "ha[s] restored to Redux an omitted brief appearance by Jack Eccles, who almost became the co-protagonist of Rabbit's first outing, and whose own 'outing' seemed to deserve a place in the full report." The Tetralogy's version of Redux thus contains the omitted passage, in which Rabbit and Rev. Eccles run into each other on the bus and engage in a long conversation as to what each has been up to the past 10 years. Considering Eccles' importance to the first novel, I was delighted to read his reappearance in Redux and am curious as why this passage was edited in the first place. For this reason alone, Tetralogy's version of Redux is worth a look, even if you've read Redux separately.

5-0 out of 5 stars No one writes like Updike
Sadly, John Updike is no longer with us.He leaves behind a very large body of work behind him, though, which is a solid legacy.

The 'Rabbit' novels span a lifetime of an ordinary man who is faced with some extraordinary challenges.'Rabbit Run' is the first in the series, and it ends on a memorable note.It doesn't exactly urge the reader on, but Updike is such a polished writer, he draws you in and you do want to read more about these characters.

Highly recommended.These are not exactly a fast read, but very involving and thought-provoking.I urge any serious reader to read the series.And this is a well-priced grouping.I have bought the books as they've come out, but this is a much more economical way to read the novels.

3-0 out of 5 stars You can build arm muscles carrying this book
I will never buy a four in one book again as it is much too heavy.As for the books, I am finally on the final book of the series.I almost gave up on the first one as I intensely disliked the main character, Rabbit.Still dislike him but I am interested in how his life ends.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Literature, Bad Format.
Like most dedicated readers, I read at breakfast, in bed and many places in between. The format of "Rabbit Angstrom -- the four novels" is physically impossible! Can't hold the book in bed, impossible to eat and read -- the format is just wrong. I have never thought about the size and shape of a book before -- and how shape and size influence the pleasure of reading. This book is too narrow and too thick to be a pleasure to read. Amazon would do well to find another source - The Everyman's Library format does not lend itself to a four novel set. Too thick, too narrow,too heavy. Never before have I found the "shape" of a book to be important. But it is. This is a book to put on a shelf, not a book to read and re-read.
When Updike died, I realized that after Rabbit Run, I had no idea what had happened to Harry. So, I went to Amazon and learned that the shape of a book matters -- not as much as it's contents -- but almost. A four volume boxed set of paperbacks would have meant a great deal to my reading pleasure. I will now buy each of the "Rabbits" as a single volume to re-read at leisure - because Updike is worth it!

3-0 out of 5 stars Surprised
This was a book club selection-we're going back to catch up on the classics-and I was looking forward to reading John Updike.I was very surprised by the rambling of the story; it seemed to be bogged down in unnecessary descriptions throughout the story.The read was not easy but I did finish Rabbit, Run and probably will continue with the remaining three books to see what happens to the characters. ... Read more

2. My Father's Tears: And Other Stories
by John Updike
Paperback: 304 Pages (2010-05-25)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$9.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345513800
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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“Drinking a toast to the visible world, his impending disappearance from it be damned.” That’s how John Updike describes an elderly character in his remarkable final collection. He might have been talking about himself. In My Father’s Tears, Updike revisits his people, places, and themes—Americans in suburbs, cities, and small towns grappling with faith and infidelity—in vivid portraits of the aged, people for whom the past has become paramount. My Father’s Tears is a superb set of tales that is a vital and unforgettable farewell. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

1-0 out of 5 stars Not impressed !
I wanted to read some good American fiction, though I was a bit skeptical if I will find one. After all the great literature of the world has often been produced in places with great cultures. America, with its cultural void, can be capable of producing great machines, but can it produce great literature ? Literature requires human emotions and it is hard to get emotions from people who created their country after mass extermination of native Americans. In spite of all the doubts, I still gave it a try. I had read Steinbeck and even though I liked lot of his writings, his racist views and denigration of Native Americans as inferior race really infuriated me. If you do not know what I am talking about, go read "East of Eden" and you will find it within the first few pages.

Anyways before I digress, let me get back to the topic at hand which is the review of this John Updike book. First, let me say at the risk of sounding facetious, how the heck do you expect someone with a name like that to write something good :-). I mean the prose is bad, really !! It is horrible. This is the worst English I have seen after a long time from a major writer. If you don't understand what I am talking about, compare this prose to Naipaul's "A bend in the river", then you will see what good prose means. Writing style in this book is just horrible. You have to read some sentences many times to just understand what they mean.

Second, there is a lot of reference to skin color. Like that "brown people" reference in the first story. It looks to me that Mr. Updike saw himself in a mirror like a narcissist many times a day and felt very proud of his skin color. The attitude is just plain pathetic and kind of self appreciating.

In conclusion, I will not recommend this book to a budding writer. If you want to read it, be my guest, but stay forewarned.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent stories
This is an excellent set of stories previously published in The New Yorker, the Atlantic, Harper's and Playboy. I liked very much the last 4 stories and in particular, the very last one, "The Full Glass" is one of the best stories I've ever read. "Playing with Dynamite" from the Afterlife collection is another Updike story that I like a lot.

4-0 out of 5 stars Late
There are eighteen stories, all published previously, mainly in THE NEW YORKER, in this meritorious collection.One is about a fiftieth high school reunion."The Walk with Elizanne" is an Olinger story.The chief character realizes that the society he had inhabited in Pennsylvania was a theistic society.

In "The Laughter of the Gods" the birth of the son redeemed the misery of the marriage of the parents."Varieties of Religious Experience" speaks of cosmic indifference.Brad and Leonora, a late middle-aged couple, are vacationing in Spain in "Spanish Prelude to a Second Marriage".The couple is stuck with each other for six days.They had saved Madrid for the second week.

Martin Fairchild, "The Accelerating Expansion of the Universe," had had an old family cupboard shipped from Pennsylvania to him in Massachusetts.Since his wife found no room for it in his house, it was put in the barn.In the time he investigated it, before it fell on him, he was not depressed.

In the seventies, the bloom of the sixties having worn off, Ed Trimble enlisted for German lessons, ("German Lesson"), at the Language Institute at an ordinary wooden house in Central Square.The teacher's husband had been a POW in Russia during WWII.The teacher had been in the League of German Maidens.

In Pennsylvania David Kern felt the tracks of his ancestors, "The Road Home".The first person narrator in "My Father's Tears" had already found Harvard more familiar than his hometown, Alton.His father foresaw that time consumes.The "Blue Light" protagonist noted that it is a surprise to see one's child with gray hair.

For us, withJohn Updike, dying in January 2009, this is the end, so to speak.

5-0 out of 5 stars Meeting Mortality

Updike's final offering of 18 short stories reflecting on the transience of existece,what residues we leave behind us to be remembered by and-most subtly-how the solid structures of our childhood;parents, Grandparents, friends school and place, all slowly vanish and change as does our own roll in the scheme of things.
Updike is perhaps the first to make note of how technology has rapidly changed relationships and the society we live in.
'Personal Archeology' 'The Guardians' 'Kinderszenew' all stand out in exploring the themes of aging,of change.
Also in this collection is 'Varieties of Religious Experience' viewing 9/11 from each perspective;perpetrator,witness,victim.This will surely become THE 9/11 literary story.
This is my first encounter with Updike and I am left very impressed. He's been often reccommended but I was always put off by the awful 'Witches of Eastwick' film, though I should have kept to my own belief that films are no more than edited highlights of a book-dumbed down highlights at that-and decided from reading.
'My Fathers Tears' is a wonderful parting gift from Updike.Do read;you wont be disappointed.

4-0 out of 5 stars My Father's Tears
The book was beautifully written with very descriptive text and metaphors. Updike wastruly a great craftman in his writing once he got out of the Rabbit series, rivetting as that series might have been to many readers. ... Read more

3. The Early Stories: 1953-1975
by John Updike
Paperback: 864 Pages (2004-09-28)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345463366
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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“He is a religious writer; he is a comic realist; he knows what everything feels like, how everything works. He is putting together a body of work which in substantial intelligent creation will eventually be seen as second to none in our time.”
—William H. Pritchard, The Hudson Review, reviewing Museums and Women (1972)

A harvest and not a winnowing, The Early Stories preserves almost all of the short fiction John Updike published between 1954 and 1975.

The stories are arranged in eight sections, of which the first, “Olinger Stories,” already appeared as a paperback in 1964; in its introduction, Updike described Olinger, Pennsylvania, as “a square mile of middle-class homes physically distinguished by a bend in the central avenue that compels some side streets to deviate from the grid pattern.” These eleven tales, whose heroes age from ten to over thirty but remain at heart Olinger boys, are followed by groupings titled “Out in the World,” “Married Life,” and “Family Life,” tracing a common American trajectory. Family life is disrupted by the advent of “The Two Iseults,” a bifurcation originating in another small town, Tarbox, Massachusetts, where the Puritan heritage co-exists with post-Christian morals. “Tarbox Tales” are followed by “Far Out,” a group of more or less experimental fictions on the edge of domestic space, and “The Single Life,” whose protagonists are unmarried and unmoored.

Of these one hundred three stories, eighty first appeared in The New Yorker, and the other twenty-three in journals from the enduring Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s to the defunct Big Table and Transatlantic Review. All show Mr. Updike’s wit and verbal felicity, his reverence for ordinary life, and his love of the transient world.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Elegant MAster
Updike is elegance in prose incarnate. By that I don't mean superficial or pretentious. Not a whiff of either of those things. It's just that there's a kind of perfection of expression that Updike achieved in his short stories. I can't say I'm a fan of his novels, so if he hasn't grabbed you in that regard, and you love the short form, you have to look into him again. And there's no better book. Personal tip--> Combine Updike with Cheever and Paul Bowels, reading them alternately. These three together form an almighty trio of American short story writing.

3-0 out of 5 stars To sieve or not to sieve
I am a long-standing fan of Updike's short stories (though less so of his novels), and my three-star rating of this book is not a reflection of my general opinion of him as a writer. Nevertheless, I do have some issues with this particular volume.

I think that it was a mistake to collect over 100 short stories under one cover with virtually no sieving. Updike made his living from writing and, and as far as I understand, he never held a regular job after he resigned from the New Yorker at the age of 25 - so I would be the last person to blame him for having published some short stories that were not quite to his general standard. When a small collection contains a couple of such works, this is usually not a problem. The situation inevitably becomes different on a scale of 100+ samples: the gap in quality between the best 10 and the weakest 10 of them is massive, and it is impossible not to notice this. I do not think that exposing his lesser works against the background of so many great stories found in this volume has done Updike's standing any good. I own virtually all collections of short stories ever published by him, and in my opinion he emerges a better author from each of his individual early collections than from this volume that combines their content.

I did not like the fact that while putting together this book Updike decided to change a few things here and there. In particular, the last sentence of the wonderful 'Dentistry and Doubt' is way too subtle in its revised version, and I suspect that some readers may now miss the whole point of the ending: I probably would, had I not read the story the way it was originally published.

Giving the hardback a deckle edge was a bad idea. This feature should really be reserved for luxury editions; the combination of ordinary binding and artificially deckled ordinary paper looks anything but tasteful; in fact, it looks cheap. More importantly, a deckle fore-edge makes it very difficult to browse through the book; locating a particular story in this volume is a constant source of frustration, so I seldom open it any longer. If the publishers were absolutely set on deckling, they should have molested the head or tail edge (or both); the fore-edge needs to be smoothly cut because it has an important practical function: the reader slides his or her thumb across it when looking for something in the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The more you study his life, the more he grows on you.
I have all of his books and refer to them regularly.I highly recommend John Updike, as does the rest of the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars For John Updike fans, this is a good buy
I love Updike's writing, and his early short stories are phenomenal.It is especially easy to enjoy this collection if you've already read some of his longer fiction.

4-0 out of 5 stars In 22 Years, Give John Updike the Nobel Prize please!
This collection of early stories, though a bit long winded at points--traditional for Updike writing and understood and accepted by his fans--the stories are nonetheless entrancing and enrapturing.I devoured them like candy.They were the sweet and sumptuous words that only a master of the english language could wove together.Sixty Five stories in twenty two years is nothing to be scoffed at, and something to be admired.With his next novel coming out this year, with two pulitzers, two national book awards, two national book Critic Circle Awards, the only other writer that may deserve a Nobel Prize in Literature more than him is Philip Roth... but in my opinion, I think he has it over Roth. ... Read more

4. Golf Dreams
by John Updike
Paperback: 224 Pages (1997-09-08)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$6.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0449912698
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
ies in this collection, drawn mainly from magazine pieces, constitute a championship round. . . . This unbridled appreciation of golf's mystical opportunities for grace and redemption will enthrall even those who have never followed an 80-yard worm-burner with an elegant chip to the pin" (People).Amazon.com Review
How lucky can an editor be? When legendary New Yorkereditor William Shawn wanted a writer to review a book on golf, hecould turn to novelist John Updike. Updike, a devoted golfer, wasdelighted to take on the assignment. That review of Michael Murphy'sGolf Inthe Kingdom is contained -- along with essays from GolfDigest, The New York Times Book Review and otherpublications -- in Golf Dreams.Rounding out the collection of30 pieces are excerpts from Updike's classic fiction, includingThree Rounds With Rabbit Angstrom. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars Golf Dreams
The book is wonderful...and more than expected (for Used;like New).
The service was excellent and the prices are phenomenal.
Thank YOU

3-0 out of 5 stars Just okay
I found these essays, "musings" by this noted author somewhat nondescript.Neither humourous nor poignant.Didn't really work for me.

4-0 out of 5 stars A terrific addition to anyone's golf library
Updike writes about golf's mysteries and travails from an everyman's point-of-view, but with a delicious turn of phrase which we all wish we could wax when recounting our games. Barring the odd essay, this collection is a delight of insight, wit and humility. As a fan of Mark Frost's golfing social histories, Updike's personal histories are a fantastic addition to any golf library.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Horror Anthology?
I find it interesting that this book was included in the selection of Horror Anthologies.

Given the way I feel about golf, it was all too appropriate!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Writer's Wry Look at Golf's Challenges and Pleasures
I am always a little at a loss to review a work like this which has 30essays, short stories, and poems in it, humorously illustrated by thetalented Paul Szep.Obviously, in a thousand words I cannot review eachwork.However, there's also no relevant way to give you an overview exceptto say that this is much of the best writing about golf that anyone hasever done, looking beyond how to improve your score.

Let me share a fewhighlights with you, much like you might compliment a golf partner on thebest shots in his or her round.Imagine that we are all having a tall coolbeverage while I do this after finishing a long, hot round.

I thought thefunniest work was "Drinking from a Cup Made Cinchey" written in1959.Updike has obviously had a golf lesson or two, as the other worksmake clear.This essay is a satire on all of those instructional articlesthat you find in Golf Digest.Updike begins by pointing out thatoccasionally there's a slip between cup and lip (but he humorously avoidsthat phrase).So he takes the simple task of picking up a cup and drinkingsomething from it, and writes it up in golf instructional style.Icouldn't stop laughing.I think I got a better idea of the golf swing fromthis non-golf swing instruction than I ever did from taking alesson!

"Swing Thoughts" from 1984 captures the problems thatwe all have with using the conscious mind too much, but with moreself-consciousness than even the most self-conscious golfer ever had.

Thepart I least agreed with was "The Trouble with a Caddie."Updikedoesn't like them, but I find having a caddie one of the pleasures of thegame.He dislikes everything from the company to handling the tip. Perhaps it is hard for someone with a solitary occupation like writing toget over that preference for solitude.Book tours must be rough!

Thebest fiction was "Farrell's Caddie" from 1991 with all duerespect to the Rabbit Angstrom material that is well known from the Rabbitbooks.It transcends golf in a valuable way.

The best poem was"Upon Winning One's Flight in the Senior Four-Ball" from 1994. Many of Updike's later works look ironically on the effects of our changinggolf fortunes as the body starts to produce less and less satisfying golf. This one is very well done without having the negative tone that some ofthe others do, hinting at decay and death.

The book is divided ino threesections:(1)Learning the Game(2)Loving the Gameand (3) Playingthe Game.The works are about equally distributed among the sections.

If you're a golfer, you know that people love to give golf-related giftsbut never know what to give.I suggest you solve their problem by puttingthis book on your Amazon.com wish list.Then on those cold winter'snights, you can curl up with this book to help you conjure up your own golfdreams!

... Read more

5. Couples
by John Updike
Paperback: 480 Pages (1996-08-27)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$6.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 044991190X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Couples is the book that has been assailed for its complete frankness and praised as an artful, seductive, savagely graphic portrait of love, marriage and adultery in America. But be it damned or hailed Couples drew back the curtain forever on sex in suburbia in the late 20th century. A classic, it is one of those books that will be read--and remembered--for a long time to come. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

4-0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the Age of The Pill
"Couples" is an erudite -- if not, at times, overly rigorous -- analysis of marriage; and an attempt to explain how and why our commitments, which here also includes professional life, fail to provide the satisfaction we hoped to find within their strictures.
Updike's protagonist -- Piet Hanema -- is a character too ordinary in his fears and impulses to be called a hero and too privileged and single-minded to label an Everyman. He is an architect and the son of Dutch immigrants by way of Grand Rapids, Michigan. A tragic car crash leaves him a middle-aged orphan, a fact that evokes a kind of sarcastic pity from his neighbors and, really, offers feeble excuse for his mischievous streak.
With his business partner, the unerringly devout Matt Gallagher, Piet builds and restores houses in the fictional village of Tarbox, applying the attention to his work that he finds difficult to maintain in his marriage. His training in carpentry teaches him that wood will yield, and that he may treat it according to his vision -- and does so -- resulting in clean and stable-looking homes described by one character as "a row of teeth."
The Hanemas, along with other couples in Tarbox, are carnally comfortable with each other -- sharing intimate sexual details and spouses. Parties are a common motif in the novel and we are, in fact, welcomed to the Hanemas' world after yet another has ended: "What do you think of the new couple?" Angela Hanema asks, while undressing in their meticulously described bedroom. We learn all about the Guerins, the Constantines, the Saltzes, the Thornes, the Ongs, the Whitmans, the little-Smiths (as well as the curious origin of their surname), and the latter's closest counterparts, the Applebys. The last two are referred to with the adorable portmanteau "the AppleSmiths" for intriguing reasons elucidated in their own detailed chapter.
The couples are introduced rather quickly; we learn their thoughts, pretensions, and insecurities immediately. Updike does not interrupt the narrative with the often tedious business of providing back story -- that point in which the author stops all action to remind us of who these people are and why we ought to care about them. Many of the characters, it seems, are held together by no more than their pretensions, insecurities, and quirks. At one point, Hanema sleeps with the wife of one neighbor who admits to an interest in sadomasochistic sex play -- a rather bold detail for 1966. There are, however, some couples who abstain from Tarbox's unchecked hedonism, such as the Gallaghers. However, Piet's business partner and his wife, Terry, are rather garishly presented as a prudish and insufferably well-behaved couple; though they do provide Piet with the parental guidance he lacks.
Piet is the only character who is well-understood outside of his coupling. We don't learn much about the others as individuals until they begin to stray from their marriages. In other cases, it is a major professional failure or a terminal illness that makes one singular. Identity is restored only by tragedy, it seems; we are alone with our failures.
As for the setting, Tarbox seems less like a quiet New England village than an island. We receive sporadic updates on the major news of the time, especially pertaining to the Kennedys, perhaps to provide a larger context for the very insular lives these people lead.
There are other authors who explore themes of suburban angst and disappointment, most notably John Cheever and Richard Yates. One could argue that their work, or perhaps even another piece by Updike (he did return to this subject, nearly forty years later, with "Villages"), is more deft and enjoyable. However, "Couples" provides aninteresting and comprehensive exploration of why people work so hard to build comfortable lives only to tear them apart or to watch passively as they decay beyond recognition. It is useful as a timepiece, with references to the freedoms provided by birth control and the constant upheavals that helped define the 1960s. Admittedly, the notion of "suburban angst" will seem like an anachronism to many readers, as we live in a time when people struggle or yearn to afford homes in quiet suburbs. Yet the novel remains relevant as an exploration of what the words "failure," "success," and "happiness" truly mean and the sometimes unfortunate ways in which we choose to define them.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed at this forty-year-old novel
I grew up in the 70's and thought this book would shed some light on what was really happening in the 1970s.If this book answers that question, it must have been a boring decade.The only thing that saves it (for me) is Updike's use of the English language.He's still one of the best American writers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Couples is Suburbia with its Secrets laid bare
This is a prototypical Updike novel, in my opinion.Here he tackles the convoluted longings and messy interpersonal relationships between Foxy and her contractor Piet.Foxy is married, of course, but that doesn't stop our randy boy Piet from trying to bed her.Set in a tense New England town, the dour weather and the hard-edge environment may have something to do with Foxy's dissatisfaction, with her husband and with life in general.The much-about-town Piet just views Foxy as another conquest, but serious complications occur when something happens to Foxy, and Piet's own life starts to unravel.

Other reviewers have panned this book or damned it with faint praise, but I enjoyed it a lot.It is a faster read than the Rabbit novels, less serious in tone, perhaps lighter in writing, but with serious, dark issues the characters must face.

Updike seems to be saying, 'every action has a consequence'.Highly recommended.Perhaps one has to be familiar with the period to give it five stars.I could place much of the angst of the period, though I was too young to have lived it like Piet and Foxy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Couples
The outer veneer of the "perfect suburbia" is stripped off and the realities of life are laid open.This is fiction, but not so fictional at the last.

3-0 out of 5 stars Three stars for the pretty words
One of my good colleagues was telling me that back in his student days it was considered fashionable to parade round the uni with a copy of Couples tucked under your arm. People read it publicly-to be seen to be reading it-and you had to have read it to be considered in the know. That, of course, was before my time...
This book proved a somewhat mixed bag for me. I decided to read it following an obituary programme, after Updike's fairly recent demise, in which Couples was discussed.
As someone who loves cyclical structures and themes in writing, that aspect of the book worked to some extent. Upon completing a book I will nearly invariable revisit the first pages and make links between beginning and end. Although the cycle was evident, sadly, there had been no change or progress, the protagonist didn't seem to have learnt, progressed, discovered or developed in any way apart from being slightly more bumbly and avaricious. Cyclical structures are there to emphasise change and development, but in this case only emphasised the lack of it. Now, evidently Updike will have deployed this method for a specific purpose, reflecting '60s society, exploring the concept of the american suburban dream, consumerism, decay, pointlessness of life etc, but it did not work for me.
In fact, Piet was just such an utter lettuce, he really and truly irritated me. His whole existence seemed pointless and directionless, bumbling from one farcical bed into another and not really achieving anything worthwhile in the process. I couldn't extract myself from the same feeling I had when reading Mme Bovary years ago. She was equally unfocused and ungrateful, not valuing what she had and making faux-pas after faux-pas. At risk of becoming repetitive, but I guess I simply have an issue with spineless characters.
And it wasn't just Piet. Truly, I tried, but did not find a single character in the entire novel I liked or particularly connected with. I don't think I have nearly given up on a book so often as this before.
Another irritating feature was the way symbolism was used, which was just too contrived, especially symbolism associated with death. Hamsters, teeth, religious imagery. It all somehow did not seem to fit together snugly at all.
Talking about hamsters, do I really need to know the dimensions of the wood Piet buys when wanting to build a hamster cage? Or the exact dimensions of someone's living room, the pattern on their wallpaper? No. No!
The sex didn't satisfy either, all the characters seem to be left with delusions and never quite arrive at a point of complete satisfatcion.
I am not a child of Updike's era. Maybe I was born too late to fully appreciate.
So why 3 stars? In spite of it all, Updike writes in such lovely language, has such pretty diction and phrases things so nicely. Clever.
... Read more

6. Self-Consciousness
by John Updike
Mass Market Paperback: 288 Pages (1990-05-28)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 044921821X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

One of our finest novelists now gives us his most dazzling creation -- his own life. In six eloquent and compelling chapters, the author of The Witches of Eastwick and the wonderful Rabbit trilogy gives us an incitingly honest look at the makings of an American writer -- and of an American man.

Here is Updike on his childhood, on ailments both horrible (psoriasis) and hilarious (his experiences at the hands of a dentist), on his stuttering, on his feelings during the Vietnam War, on his genealogy. and on that most elusive of subjects, his innermost self. What emerges is a fascinating, fully formed portrait -- candid, often very, funny, and always illuminating.

John Updike ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not Quite
As you can see by the picture, it indicates that the book is flatsigned by John Updike. So, I was expecting mine to be signed. It isn't. I wanted the book and I'm going to keep it, but the signature photo really shouldn't be there.


5-0 out of 5 stars Self-Consciousness
A look into John Updikes's world without any mean spiritness towards others on his part.

4-0 out of 5 stars This is Updike's biography.
This is a heartbreaking memoir from a man who had the power and the will to share it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Self Consciousness
John Updike's "Self Consciousness" reveals much of what Updike readers may already suspect.That is, Updike's ability to create complex characters arises from his struggles as an imperfect being. Updike invites readers to learn, first hand, of his own difficulties and challenges. He devotes a chapter to his psoriasis: "At War with My Skin" and another to his speech problems: "Getting the Words Out." He speculates how these, and other ongoing deficits contributed to his vocation. Updike's song of himself provides the reader an opportunity to view the writer through his own eyes.
"Self-Consciousness" illuminates Updike as he sees himself throughout the stages of his life, as well as his perceptions as a citizen of the United States during the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s. His recollections and reflections reveal ways that our culture and our selves change and evolve over time.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading Updike. It is a moving and complex look into one of America's great modern writers.

3-0 out of 5 stars Seeing life stages through John Updike
This book of John Updike's memoirs is a revealing view of how he viewed his life as he passed through various stages. The overly detailed descriptions of specific streets and houses led me to boredom frequently and seemed to have way too much space for the stories needs. His introverted image of himself is inconsistent with how his peers viewed him. The class rapscallion is missing of Shillington High School 1950 is missing.
Memorable book that follows the personal life of this great author through many stages of his life. ... Read more

7. Rabbit, Run
by John Updike
Paperback: 272 Pages (1996-08-27)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$4.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0449911659
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Harry Angstrom was a star basketball player in high school and that was the best time of his life. Now in his mid-20s, his work is unfulfilling, his marriage is moribund, and he tries to find happiness with another woman. But happiness is more elusive than a medal, and Harry must continue to run--from his wife, his life, and from himself, until he reaches the end of the road and has to turn back.... ... Read more

Customer Reviews (126)

4-0 out of 5 stars Running from Reality and Responsibility
Harry a.k.a., Rabbit Angstrom, in this first installment of John Updike's tetrology, is a case where fallen human nature displays itself in actions and attitudes reinforced by a number of factors. The first is the family upbringing and the kind of theology one grew up with. Here Updike alludes that theology matters. We see this from Rabbit's interaction with Jack Ecles, an Episcopalian minister who despite a sincere desire to restore his broken relationship with his wife and in-laws, fails miserably in his efforts due to a defective view of man, sin, God and atonement. The people Rabbit grew up with are also a big influence that makes him the person that he is; his buddies in the army and his high-school basketball coach Marty Tothero. All these factors seem to work together to mold Rabbit into an irresponsible person who can't stand the painful realities and responsibilities in personal relationships, specifically in marriage that tragically leads to the death of his baby. I don't view the characters in this story derisively; Rabbit, his wife Janice, his parents and in-laws, Marty, Ruth, and Jack, but with sympathy since everyone is liable to similar predicaments. From a Christian perspective, they underscore the need of the gospel ofJesus Christ that deals head-on with the fundamental problem with humanity, namely, sin.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rabbit adictive
Updike writes with such detail it's like he's painting a picture in my mind. Normally mundane life bursts off the page and I can see what he is writing about. I am now on to Rabbit Redux which jumps ahead a few years and is even better, I can remember what I was doingin 1971 when that was published, a much more political time and Updike is in the middle of it all.

4-0 out of 5 stars Where it all started
The Updike Rabbit series deals with contemporary issues respective to each novel - and Harry's unique, but disarming, take on each.But Rabbit, Run is where it all started and essential reading for the series (and serious reader). It's when you begin to emphathize, instead of sympathize, with Rabbit that the power of Updike begins to surface.

3-0 out of 5 stars Where's the payoff?
I've wanted to read Updike for a while and 'Rabbit, Run' is my first foray. It's clear from the beginning that this isn't a novel of the casual-reading variety that will allow your eyes to dance across rapidly turning pages. It doesn't pull you in like that. Updike has a gift for descriptive prose (in fact that's what you're going to get throughout the novel) and as such you have to invest time and effort to absorb and immerse yourself into the whole of it. By committing and submitting yourself to this narrative you allow Updike to use his primary vehicle for relating his characters.

The prose can be challenging, especially at first, like listening to a foreigner trying to speak English, you have to shift gears and give yourself time to attune to the flow and pattern of this delivery. As such, I viewed the approximately first 30 pages as a disembodied, boastful and self-serving exercise in prose designed to show off the prowess of a clever writer as opposed to the delight encountered upon finding a novel that has an ability to grab you right away and immediately begin advancing the story. The descriptive text can be numbing and I catch myself reading individual words and individual sentences, focusing on the wordplay instead of absorbing the character and story. I force patience in myself and as the characters and style become more familiar the verbosity of prose begins to feel less burdensome.

If you're the type of person whose heart sinks at the sight of a paragraph that extends a page or more, and there are definitely a few of those in here, then this book is probably not for you. But it's not just that the paragraphs can be (and feel) long, rather it's the feeling that each paragraph and each descriptive little nugget within seems to relate a quality or feeling of grotesqueness and distortion, and the longer the paragraph the longer you're submerged, held under, gasping for breath. Some might say 'that's the point, to be unsettled' and I can understand this argument but the story is filled primarily with this manner of textual undertow, and, combined with the accompanying tragic characters (even the children are made to feel tragic), the reader is pulled relentlessly into an unsatisfying, spiraling morass. At the end, characters' positions may change but the changes are slight and circumstantial at best (not dictated by realization or self-determination) leaving the reader to ponder only the lack of growth, reward, justice, and ultimately payoff.

2-0 out of 5 stars I don't see the point of this book
To head off the inevitable criticism, let me start off by saying that I generally like reading great literature, and can enjoy books even if (or especially if!) they are depressing or have unhappy endings. But even for such books I need a reason to care about something: either the characters or the themes or the writing. This book gave me nothing to care about. The central character [Rabbit] has no redeeming qualities: his predicaments are interesting (and had the potential to be relevant as an illustration of people who drift through life), but Rabbit is not just a 'drifter'; he's a jerk who commits not one selfless act the entire book. Does the book offer anything else? The themes explored here may have been considered revolutionary at the time the book was published in the early '60s (I don't know), but by today's standards are weaker than what you would find in a good independent film. The writing is ok, but there are several authors out there who write better.

What I don't understand is why this book is considered a classic, and why so many others on amazon liked it so much. ... Read more

8. Due Considerations: Essays and Criticism
by John Updike
Paperback: 736 Pages (2008-09-30)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$8.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 034549900X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
“A drop of truth, of lived experience, glistens in each.” This is how John Updike, one of the world’s most acclaimed novelists, modestly describes his nonfiction work, the brilliant and graceful essays and criticism he has written for more than five decades. Due Considerations is his sixth collection, and perhaps the most moving, stylish, and personal volume yet. Here he reflects on such writers and works as Emerson, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Colson Whitehead, The Wizard of Oz, Don DeLillo, The Portrait of a Lady, Margaret Atwood, The Mabinogion, and Proust. Updike also provides a whimsical and insightful list of “Ten Epochal Moments in the American Libido,” from Pocahontas and John Smith to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky; muses on how the practice of faith changes but doesn’t disappear; and shares his reaction to the attacks on 9/11 (in Brooklyn that day, “Freedom, reflected in the street’s diversity and quotidian ease, felt palpable”). Due Considerations proves that John Updike is, as noted in The Boston Globe, “our greatest critic of literature.”

Praise for Due Considerations

A New York Times Notable Book

“The prose is clean, elegant, exquisitely calibrated. . . . [Updike is] one of the best essayists and critics this country has produced in the last century.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Updike’s scope is rather breathtaking. . . . When I do not know the subject well–as in his finely illustrated art reviews of Bruegel, Dürer and Goya–I learn much from what Updike has to impart. When he considers an author I love, like Proust or Czeslaw Milosz, I often find myself appreciating familiar things in a new way.”
–Christopher Hitchens, The New York Times Book Review

“With his pack-rat curiosity . . . his prodigious memory and attendant knack for choosing the ‘just-right’ fact or quote, and his ever-present astonishment at both the stupidity and genius on display wherever he looks, Updike is in many ways an ideal critic. . . . It is a privilege to be in the company of this wonderfully American voice.”
–Rocky Mountain News

“Updike knows more about literature than almost anyone breathing today. . . . He's beyond knowledgeable–he makes Google look wanting.”
Baltimore Sun

“Provocative and incisive . . . This volume reminds us that [Updike’s] prose sets our literary bar very high indeed.”
–The Charlotte Observer

“Updike offers an effortless mastery of form and content.”
–The Boston Globe ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Essays and literary criticism by the master of both
John Updike may come to be regarded as a writer equal to, or greater in stature than Shakespeare. As a novelist he is incomparable, but it is as a literary critic that his unique talent bowls one over. This volume provides new insights into art and literature, from Bruegel to Proust. There is sheer joy in moving from the index to topic.It makes Google look second rate. Once you get hold of this book you'll want more. Updike, as ever, was obliging, and wrote "More Matter" - a New York times Notable Book. Order it at the same time. You'll never regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bookend
It's a heavy book.On the outside of it "Due Considerations" appears as one of those intimidating tomes that sit with stentorian authority on the shelves of academic potentates or literary agents, somewhat worshipped, and rarely opened.It can seem intimidating.One could be tempted to just hold it for a few minutes and savor its weightiness, reflecting on the fact of the treasure one bears: a voluminous collection of essays and criticisms by one of the most prolific and perspicacious men of letters of the twentieth century.

Then open it, and something remarkable happens.Rather than being ushered into a rarefied world of abstract ideas and abstruse language, John Updike welcomes the reader into the warm room of his mind, filled with the rich furnishings of his intimate, personal reflections on the the genius of others. Anyone is welcome.All that's required of a reader of "Due Considerations" is a disposition of curiosity, and a passion for life.

Within minutes you'll find yourself immersed.You can start anywhere--that's one of the many beauties of "Due Considerations".It seems there's not an author, breathing or otherwise, that Updike hasn't read and examined with thoughtful and affectionate precision.Melville, Thurber, Hawthorne, Baum, Beerbaum, English fiction, American fiction, biography, non-fiction, art, other languages--they're all here, spilling over each other despite the editor's obvious attempts to organize and categorize.Life, art, and language, seem, in Updike's loving hands, connected and continuous.

And then there's EB White, and Orhan Pamuk, and Henry Petroski, and oh, yes, did I mention Fernanda Eberstadt? On the way, take a detour into the world of conceptual art, and the modern political situation in China.Updike may have lived a mere 76 years, but he's packed at least five centuries of human experience into his literary soul.

For both serious and casual readers this makes "Due Considerations" a candy store.No doubt for everyone there are a few favorite authors examined here, and the chance to learn of many more.Old friends and new, Updike makes little distinction.He flings open doors on emerging and established artists like an engaging, eager host.

Despite its disparate subjects, Updike's journeys through the human existence do have a central unifying theme, though even he seems reluctant to confront it directly.It's his quest for the spiritual, a longing for the existence and knowledge of God, which seems to compel him most completely, and which eludes him continually.In his exegesis of Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin" he opines "From the absoluteness of "me" a great deal of religious consolation can be spun.The self is pitted against the vast physical universe as if the two were equal."Is this a statement of fact in his mind, or a deep seated wish?Whichever, his search for the essence of humanity came a long way in his remarkable life, and did its part to move the human psyche closer towards parity with that elusive "absolute self."

5-0 out of 5 stars Due Considerations
This book is filled with sharp insights and lucid writing, always revealing something new and unexpected and thus enhancing my own appetite for knowing more about the world of literature and art and all the wondrous things they lead us to.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another regret
Every good deed goes punished, I lent this and it's gone, plus I was just part way through.
And now the author is also lost to time.
Somehow it seems we turn the page too quickly.

In the great book, maybe he'll have his page, no?
This was an excellent thing to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pure and simple Genius
You'll laugh out loud and at times want to cry.I've read the Rabbit series twice now and suspect I'll be going back to More Matter soon enough.Updike is an American treasure, end of story. ... Read more

9. In the Beauty of the Lilies
by John Updike
Paperback: 512 Pages (1997-01-21)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$3.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0449911217
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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"IT WILL LEAVE YOU STUNNED AND BREATHLESS. . . . With grand ambition, [Updike] not only tracks the fortunes and falls of an American family through four generations and eight decades but also creates a shimmering, celluloid portrait of the whole century as viewed through the metaphor of the movies."

--Miami Herald

"AN IMPORTANT AND IMPRESSIVE NOVEL: a novel that not only shows how we live today, but also how we got there. . . . A book that forces us to reassess the American Dream and the crucial role that faith (and the longing for faith) has played in shaping the national soul."

--The New York Times

"STIRRING AND CAPTIVATING AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN . . . [This] new novel displays a depth and a narrative confidence that make one sigh with sweet anticipation. This is the Updike of the Rabbit books, who can take you uphill and down with his grace of vision, his gossamer language, and his merciful, ironic glance at the misery of the human condition. "

--The Boston Globe

"AWESOME . . . Updike's genius, his place beside Hawthorne and Nabokov have never been more assured, or chilling."

--The New Yorker


--The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Amazon.com Review
When Clarence Wilmot, a Presbyterian clergyman, loses his faithand becomes an encyclopedia salesman, he opens the saga of one Americanfamily's twentieth-century relationship with God and all things religious. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars Updikem The Master
John Updike is a masterful writer. This novel, covering four generations of a family,starts with a powerful, moving, credible account of a minister struggling with his loss of faith. As one who has also lost his faith, I found this account credible.

4-0 out of 5 stars More of an extended fable than a novel
There is something in the modern world that has sucked the wonder out of life. Clarence Wilmot, a Presbyterian minister living through the first decade of the 20th century in small-town America, finds his faith has abandoned him in the face of the onslaught of atheist rationalism. This turns him into a stricken wreck, eking out a living and being entranced by the movies, into which it appears all the wonder that used to come from God has drained, a fantasy world of shimmering silver beauty. For the next three generations, Clarence's family continues stricken by this event, and his loss of faith takes on the character of the Fall, a curse to be borne by the Wilmots over the years. They deal with this, successively, either by retreating to a sheltered life as a nonentity, seeking fame (and God) by plunging into the movie business itself, or repudiating the world in favour of the more tangible god to be found in the person of a charismatic sect leader.

There is very little 'plot' to this novel, it is more a series of vignettes and biographical material that place this family and its trials against the backdrop of the wider American experience. Updike has managed to use the Wilmots to capture the atmosphere of futility and degeneration that seems to have gripped Western culture in the past hundred years. You probably won't like the characters, but you will pity them. At times they unfortunately seem to get swamped in the mass of detail that Updike has amassed about the economic and cultural history of each generation. I also found the ending rather abrupt and unsatisfying, though of course the whole novel is about a chronic lack of satisfaction and meaning so I suppose one can't complain.

As a novel it somewhat lacks a sense of drive and structure that could hold together the sprawling material. However, it is highly recommended as a meditation on some of the existential questions that our culture, with its love of the silver screen and its comforting glow, finds easier to avoid.

5-0 out of 5 stars breathaking in scope, vision
this is the first john updike book i've ever read, selected for our book club in memory of his passing. i wasn't sure what to expect and was absolutely bored after about 100 pages. but then everything slowly began to fall into place, like the master painter who's first few strokes are incoherent, confusing; and then something beautiful emerges and wins you over. i was completely dazzled by his descriptions of character, landscape, stunned how so much could be written so clearly, giving me a vision of this world he was creating.

this book is basically about a history of a family, given through each person's viewpoint, beginning at the dawn of the 20th century and ending at its close. it uses film as a marvelous tool to provide this history along with religion serving as a symbol of conflict or salvation within each generation. his characters are given depth, most assuredly that of hollywood actress.

fascinating, classic writing, i found it refreshing to discover an old master.

5-0 out of 5 stars Updike's Theological-Philosophical Best
Updike IN THE BEAUTY OF THE LILLIES brillantly presents the grand theme that permeates the Updike canon, the displacement of religion in American with that which cannot transcend. The replacement/displacement theme is immediate in IN THE BEAUTY--the vacuum created by the collapse of religion in American is filled by the movies. But, the replacement proves in the end to be hollow. It cannot transcend, and the result is disillusionment with both religion and the movies.

A great read and thought-provoking. This is Updike at his philosophical best.

5-0 out of 5 stars well done
The book was in good shape and it got to me quickly, no complaints.I would use the seller again. ... Read more

10. The Maples Stories (Everyman's Library Pocket Classics)
by John Updike
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2009-08-04)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.55
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307271765
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Collected together for the first time in hardcover, these eighteen classic stories from across John Updike’s career form a luminous chronicle of the life and times of one marriage in all its rich emotional complexity.

In 1956, Updike published a story, “Snowing in Greenwich Village,” about a young couple, Joan and Richard Maple, at the beginning of their marriage. Over the next two decades, he returned to these characters again and again, tracing their years together raising children, finding moments of intermittent happiness, and facing the heartbreak of infidelity and estrangement. Seventeen Maples stories were collected in 1979 in a paperback edition titled Too Far to Go, prompted by a television adaptation. Now those stories appear in hardcover for the first time, with the addition of a later story, “Grandparenting,” which returns us to the Maples’s lives long after their wrenching divorce. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Updike at his best and briefest...
How wonderful and how poignant to have the tragicomic saga of the marriage of Richard and Joan Maples appear at long last in one slender and beautifully bound volume. Wonderful because when read together, these individual short stories, authored by John Updike over a period of almost 40 years, emerge as something considerably greater than the sum of the parts. Poignant because they are appearing now, in the year when Updike, America's foremost and perhaps last man of letters passed away, leaving us to remember, to miss, and to celebrate him through his humane and witty short stories, novels, and essays.

The stories in this book trace the brief rise and prolonged fall of a quintessentially American marriage that begins with a "Snowfall in Greenwich Village" early in the age of Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower and ends with "Grand Parenting " (1993) just before the dawn of the Bill and Hillary Clinton era. In between, the Maples experience most of the joys and all of the sorrows of modern middle class marriage, playing catch up with the 60s sexual revolution, navigating the tides of easy divorce and painful reconciliations, second families, lovers who just won't stop calling at home (Your Lover Just Called),and almost everything else that undercut but at the same time energized American marriage and family life in the latter half of the 20th century. Not all the stories are pretty, and some of the scenes are downright ugly (and all too realistic), and yet through it all, the Maples, as they drift apart, reconcile, separate and finally divorce, show more vitality, joy in living, and yes, true love for each other, than many "happily" married couples ever achieve.

As a richly documented narrative of the American Century, or least the post-WWII part of it, viewed through the lens of one marriage and two lives, the Maples stories collected here are, in my opinion, second only to the the four volume Rabbit tetralogy (Rabbit Run, Rabbit Redux, Rabbit Is Rich, and Rabbit at Rest) in achieving a moving fictional reality. In a way, I feel I got to know the Maples as well or better than I knew the Angstroms, and while I felt that the dangerously over-educated Maple's problems were far more their own fault, often arising out of their own superficiality and over intellectualizing of basic human emotions and erotic urges, I cannot help being drawn to to them by their often misguided, but heroic attempts to find some sort of accommodation between the life they were leading and the life they wanted to lead, or at least thought they wanted to lead if they could only move on. The path was strewn with loneliness tears, and misery, but in the end, the Maples, like Rabbit Angstrom, achieved something more than just a life -- -- they achieved lives lived, if not well, at least lived fully, in some sort of love with each other, and finally, as we leave them, surviving to the rueful joys of shared grand parenthood.

In short, this collection of stories, while too brief and ending long before we would like it to, turns out to be more than the sum of its parts, and despite its brevity, immensely worthwhile. A lot like the Maple's marriage, in fact. ... Read more

11. The Centaur
by John Updike
Paperback: 320 Pages (1996-08-27)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0449912167
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In a small Pennsylvania town in the late 1940s, schoolteacher George Caldwell yearns to find some meaning in his life. Alone with his teenage son for three days in a blizzard, Caldwell sees his son grow and change as he himself begins to lost touch with his life. Interwoven with the myth of Chiron, the noblest centaur, and his own relationship to Prometheus, The Centaur one of John Updike's most brilliant and unusual novels. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Centaur
Incredibly this was the first John Updike novel I have read and after The Centaur I plan on reading lots more of Mr. Updike's writing.The Centaur is beautifully written; Updike has a unique descriptive style that makes the reader look at ordinary (as well as extraordinary) thoughts, feelings and events in a whole new way.The character development is exceptional in a short novel in that they are all interesting and jump off the page "larger than life".

More or less a tribute to the narrator's (Updike's?) father - the hero of the story reminded me of some of my own high school teachers and is some aspects my own father and the dialogue at times is laugh-out-loud funny (something I rarely do when reading most novels).

Other reviewers commented that there is "no point" to The Centaur and in a sense I agree.The reader will not neccessarily take anything of value from it - but the joy is in the reading itself and I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

I highly recommend The Centaur.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Centaur
It was a good purchase for the money paid.
Better quality books generally cost much more:-)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Centaur
I had read a review of the Centaur prior to purchasing the book, so I was prepared for the mythological chapters. Otherwise it could have been very confusing.However, true to John Updike's clarity of emotions and descriptive passages and the feeling I get that he understood the human animal, I am thoroughly enjoying the book.I am near finished reading it and I am happy that I will have it in my collection of John Updike's writings.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Centaur
Fantastic interweaving of post-WWII rural Pennsylvania with Greek mythology. Interesting father-son relationship and a "coming of age" work.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag
The conceit of Greek mythology in this novel sometimes subtracts from the plot.Here, Updike is trying to create a Joycean novel with a Bloomian Every Man at its center.Despite the sometimes artificial feel of the trick, it sometimes works.Updike is able to paint, in very subtle shades, many degrees of feeling between a father and a son.The Greek myth as the counterpoint to this primal relationship may add little to this great work, but it doesn't necessarily detract from it; one can always read the "mythology" a little more quickly than the other finely written sections on what it is to be human and to struggle. ... Read more

12. Terrorist: A Novel
by John Updike
Paperback: 320 Pages (2007-05-29)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$4.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345493915
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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John Updike has written a brilliant novel that ranks among the most provocative of his distinguished career. Terrorist is the story of Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy, an alienated American-born teenager who spurns the materialistic, hedonistic life he witnesses in the slumping New Jersey factory town he calls home. Turning to the words of the Holy Qur’an as expounded to him by the pedantic imam of a local mosque, Ahmad devotes himself fervently to God. Neither the world-weary guidance counselor at his high school nor Ahmad’s mischievously seductive classmate Joryleen succeeds in deflecting him from his course, as the threads of an insidious plot gather around him.

“One compelling and surprising ride.”–USA Today
“The startlingly contemporary story of a high school student . . . whose zealous Islamic faith and disaffection with modern life make him a pawn in the larger conflict between Muslim and Christian, East and West. They also make him a powerful voice for Updike’s ongoing critique of American civilization.”

“A chilling tale that is perhaps the most essential novel to emerge from Sept. 11.”
People (Critic’s Choice) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (156)

1-0 out of 5 stars Implausible, to say the least
John Updike wrote some very good books, but this isn't one of them.Although the premise is believable -- young Arab-American convinces himself that an act of terrorism on American soil is the way to go -- the contrived plot and ridiculous ending make it a waste of time.Only a writer with Updike's impressive credentials could get a novel this bad published.An embarrassment from start to finish.

4-0 out of 5 stars John Updike's "Terrorist"
This book was an intriguing read for the book club I am in.It held my interest - and while parts of it were easy to figure out as regards what was going to happen next - I was likewise surprised a few times by the unexpected twists and turns this story took.Was amazed by the breadth and scope of Updike's knowledge. I don't belive this is a book a young man could have written. Only a long life rich with experiences both minor and major would have developed a story like this. Interesting side stories wrapped themselves wround the main plot.

3-0 out of 5 stars An Updike letdown
Updike ventures into unexpected territory in trying to tell the story of an 18-year-old Arab-American terrorist living in post-9/11 New Jersey.The book was published in 2006, when Updike was 74 years old.On a believability scale of 1 to 10, this one comes in pretty close to zero.Although I enjoyed the story-line tremendously, and appreciated how things came together tensely at the end, the obvious flaws in character believability overwhelmed me.Kudos to Updike for trying, but this one was simply too much of a stretch.

Ahmad, a disenchanted Irish-Arab-American teen-ager, fatherless, gravitates to an extremist imam, who molds the boy into a combustible ball of hatred--hatred of his country and of the infidels around him.A saucy black schoolmate provides the wispy threads of a would-be romance.And his ineffectual Irish mother, so invisible in Ahmad's life, hooks up with Ahmad's Jewish guidance counselor, who has a weird quasi-presence throughout the book.By now you see the problem.As formidable as Updike's talents are, these characters are so far from his sweet spot that nothing feels credible.Rabbit is so much closer to home, so much easier to believe.

I think "Terrorist" could be made into a great movie some day.The story is there--interesting, volatile, germane.Introduce more depth to the characters, and bring the dialogue down to earth, and it's a slam-dunk winner.If you're a big fan of Updike like I am, go ahead and read "Terrorist".It'll show you another side of this great American author.Just don't expect the book to knock your socks off.

4-0 out of 5 stars John Updike' on Home Grown Terrorist
Excellent insight on human mind from the master. Although it is an old book, but the topic is very contemporary. A must read for understanding the alleged home grown terrosist issue.

3-0 out of 5 stars Updike did his homework.
After reading Infidel, I read Terrorist.Updike researched well.He was able to get inside the head of a ultimately fatherless young man whose fantasy of his father got the best of him.He wanted desperately to please his father who was replaced by his Islam faith.Unhappy or lonely young people have a tendency to attach themselves to various religions in very extreme ways.Check out the ages of cult members and other extremist faiths including Christianity.I don't think Updike is the unAmerican.I think he is allowing us to see what is going on in a young extremist's mind who chose Islam because of his father's nationality.Updike probably isn't far off the mark. ... Read more

13. Rabbit at Rest
by John Updike
Paperback: 480 Pages (1996-08-27)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$6.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0449911942
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In John Updike's fourth and final novel about ex-basketball player Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, the hero has acquired heart trouble, a Florida condo, and a second grandchild. His son, Nelson, is behaving erratically; his daughter-in-law, Pru, is sending out mixed signals; and his wife, Janice, decides in mid-life to become a working girl. As, though the winter, spring, and summer of 1989, Reagan's debt-ridden, AIDS-plagued America yields to that of George Bush, Rabbit explores the bleak terrain of late middle age, looking for reasons to live.Amazon.com Review
It's 1989, and Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom feels anything but restful. In facthe's frozen, incapacitated by his fear of death--and in the final year ofthe Reagan era, he's right to be afraid. His 55-year-old body, swollen withbeer and munchies and racked with chest pains, wears its bulk "like a setof blankets the decades have brought one by one." He suspects that his sonNelson, who's recently taken over the family car dealership, is embezzlingmoney to support a cocaine habit.

Indeed, from Rabbit's vantage point--which alternates between a wintercondo in Florida and the ancestral digs in Pennsylvania, not to mention adetour to an intensive care unit--decay is overtaking the entire world. Thebudget deficit is destroying America, his accountant is dying of AIDS, anda terrorist bomb has just destroyed Pan Am Flight 103 above Lockerbie,Scotland. This last incident, with its rapid transit from life to death,hits Rabbit particularly hard:

Imagine sitting there in your seat being lulled by the hum of the bigRolls-Royce engines and the stewardesses bring the clinking drinkscaddy... and then with a roar and giant ripping noise and scattered screamsthis whole cozy world dropping away and nothing under you but black spaceand your chest squeezed by the terrible unbreathable cold, that cold youcan scarcely believe is there but that you sometimes actually feel stillpacked into the suitcases, stored in the unpressurized hold, when youunpack your clothes, the dirty underwear and beach towels with themerciless chill of death from outer space still in them.
Marching through the decades, John Updike's first three Rabbitnovels--Rabbit, Run(1960), Rabbit Redux(1971), and Rabbit IsRich (1981)--dissect middle-class America in all its dysfunctionalglory. Rabbit at Rest (1990), the final installment and winner ofthe Pulitzer Prize, continues this brilliant dissection. Yet it alsodevelops Rabbit's character more fully as he grapples with an uncertainfuture and the consequences of his past. At one point, for example, he'staken his granddaughter Judy for a sailing expedition when his first heartattack strikes. Rabbit gamely navigates the tiny craft to shore--and then,lying on the beach, feels a paradoxical relief at having both saved hisbeloved Judy and meeting his own death. (He doesn't, not yet.) Meanwhile,this all-American dad feels responsible for his son's full-blown drugaddiction but incapable of helping him. (Ironically, it's Rabbit's wifeJanice, the "poor dumb mutt," who marches Nelson into rehab.)

His misplaced sense of responsibility--plus his crude sexual urges andracial slurs--can make Rabbit seems less than lovable. Still, there'ssomething utterly heroic about his character. When the end comes, afterall, it's the Angstrom family that refuses to accept the reality ofRabbit's mortality. Only Updike's irreplaceable mouthpiece rises to theoccasion, delivering a stoical, one-word valediction: "Enough."--Rob McDonald ... Read more

Customer Reviews (46)

5-0 out of 5 stars Has there ever been a more flawed
yet admirable protagonist?After all of the things that he has done, how can you possibly like Rabbit Angstrom?Yet you do!He faces trial after trial after trial.You can tell he knows the right thing to do, and sometimes briefly considers doing it.Yet, more often than not, he ends up doing the wrong (selfish) thing.But, because of John Updike, we always know what he is thinking, and we always know that he has more good in him than bad.Surrounded by a cast of incompetent relatives that refuse to acknowledge reality, his is the lone voice of reason (God help them).In the end, he goes out his own way (yes, shocker, he dies).In my mind, one of the great characters of the 20th century.He certainly embodies America, for good or for bad.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Rabbit Book
Of all the Rabbit books, this is by far my favorite.I think that there is a certain cadence to Updike's prose that often outshines his storytelling.In this, a story of impending death, I found the story to shine as brightly as the language.Updike appeals to me in this book in a way I can't say he quite did with the others in this series.

4-0 out of 5 stars End Passage among Favorites
I'm a sucker for the perfectly written ending to a book, and in this case obviously, a series.Updike delivers one of the best end passages of a story I have encountered.He is a terrific writer, as the reader is compelled to follow this story, despite a cast of rather unlikable characters that are impossible to root for.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Accomplishment
I read the four Rabbit novels consecutively.It is difficult to write a review of Rabbit At Rest without looking back at the series.The four novels are a significant accomplishment.Rather than say I enjoyed the novels, I prefer to say I admire them.Four books written ten years apart follow the life of an average man from early adulthood through later life.Each book starts a decade later and explains what has occurred since the last book.Updike's age approximated Rabbit's as he wrote each book and we actually live Rabbit's life with him.I give five stars to the 4 novels which as I've mentioned in another review is greater than the sum of its parts.

Rabbit is Rich is the closing chapter and is really about Harry Rabbit Angstrom coming to terms with his mortality and reflecting on his life.His son has run the car dealership into the ground with his drug habit, his wife is blind to the son's issues and feels responsible because of what they'd put him through.Rabbit was once so powerful and virile and is now living in Florida half the year, golfing each day and living with the restrictions of a bad heart.He is still very self centered but it's hard not to cheer for him.As with all the novels, our access to Rabbit's thought are unrestricted and we get the good and the bad in a seemingly unfiltered form.

I thought the last hundred pages were outstanding and really tied the series together well as Rabbit runs from responsibility in a scene reliving the opening sequences of Rabbit Run.

I found Rabbit at Rest and Rabbit is Rich to be the best two books of the series as Updike matured with his character.

This is a tremendous literary accomplishment and I highly recommend reading all four books consecutively.

3-0 out of 5 stars rabbit at rest by john updike
the book arrived in great condition.the story on the other hand was ok.This was a gift for my husband. he collects pulitzer prize winners ... Read more

14. Still Looking: Essays on American Art
by John Updike
Hardcover: 240 Pages (2005-11-08)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$21.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400044189
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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When, in 1989, a collection of John Updike’s writings on art appeared under the title Just Looking, a reviewer in the San Francisco Chronicle commented, “He refreshes for us the sense of prose opportunity that makes art a sustaining subject to people who write about it.” In the sixteen years since Just Looking was published, he has continued to serve as an art critic, mostly for The New York Review of Books, and from fifty or so articles has selected, for this richly illustrated book, eighteen that deal with American art.

After beginning with early American portraits, landscapes, and the transatlantic career of John Singleton Copley, Still Looking then considers the curious case of Martin Johnson Heade and extols two late-nineteenth-century masters, Winslow Homer and Thomas Eakins. Next, it discusses the eccentric pre-moderns James McNeill Whistler and Albert Pinkham Ryder, the competing American Impressionists and Realists in the early twentieth century, and such now-historic avant-garde figures as Alfred Stieglitz, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, and Elie Nadelman. Two appreciations of Edward Hopper and appraisals of Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol round out the volume.

America speaks through its artists. As Updike states in his introduction, “The dots can be connected from Copley to Pollock: the same tense engagement with materials, the same demand for a morality of representation, can be discerned in both.”

On Just Looking

“Some of these essays are marvelous examples of critical explanation, in which the psychological concerns of the novelist drive the eye from work to work in an exhibition until a deep understanding of the art emerges.”
—Arthur Danto, The New York Times Book Review

“These are remarkably elegant little essays, dense in thought and perception but offhandedly casual in style. Their brevity makes more acute the sense of regret one feels to see them end.” —Jeremy Strick, Newsday ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Language of American Art
I love John Updike's essays. His perspicacious critical writing is, more often than not, a joy to explore. However, I have to agree with a previous review, which wonders at the lack of female representation. In a country with giants like Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, Louise Bourgeois, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, and Helen Frankenthaler pushing the bounderies of art; it's impossible to think of this book as anything other than a reflection of Updike's personal preferences. Therefore, don't expect a comprehensive collection of essays about "the best" (whatever that means) American art.

5-0 out of 5 stars An art critic's prime articles on American art
In 1989 a collection of John Updike's writings on art appeared under the title JUST LOOKING, providing a refreshingly different viewpoint on the art world: in the last sixteen years he's continued his career as an art critic and has selected eighteen prime articles on American art for this edition. From eccentric artists and unusual American art history influences to portraits of historic figures, Updike's literary and historical review touches upon a range of mediums, artists, and emotional and spiritual influences, making STILL LOOKING: ESSAYS ON AMERICAN ART a vivid, lively consideration.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sampler of American Art History
John Updike is a prize-winning novelist, but he was also trained in fine art and has written a number of gallery show reviews, especially for the New York Review of Books.His reviews are always interesting and point out many aspects of the artist's work being shown."Still Looking: Essays on American Art" is a collection of his reviews and that collection is quite eclectic, covering such artists as Whistler, Copley, Ryder, Eakins, Homer, Hopper, Nadelman, Dove, Hassam, Pollack and Hartley, as well as the photographer Stieglitz and two theme reviews on storms and landscapes in his eighteen chapters. While all of his highlighted artists are male, he has good things to say about Mary Cassatt (p. 118) and he does reproduce two of O'Keeffe's watercolors (p. 142) and one of her oils (p. 143).I think his relative lack of female artists in this volume may have more to do with the shows he reviewed for the various publications than any especially strong male bias.

That said, this book is magnificent!The articles are well done and the art work is reproduced in vibrant color. I found a number of works I had never seen as well as "discovering" several artists that were essentially new to me, and was fascinated by the depth of the art produced by them. If you want to begin to learn about American artists, this collection of reviews is a very good place to start.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful prose, insightful images
Updike makes for a keen and amiable exhibition companion in this collection of essays on American art, and there's little I can add to the positive editorial reviews. The illustrations, however, deserve note: they are extraordinarily sharp, despite their size. As one example on p. 50, the lightning bolt in Heade's "Approaching Thunderstorm" (1859) razors down on the left side of the canvas--a detail I have never seen captured in any other book, including those devoted to Heade and containing much larger reproductions of this memorable work. The publisher's technical staff deserve credit and the appreciation of art lovers who, for this reason, will enjoy Updike's guided tours even more.

2-0 out of 5 stars Why does Updike ignore women artists?
I find it disturbing that John Updike can apparently find no female artist worthy of mention in his book...beyond one artist who is practically unknown. And she is included only because his family owned a piece of artwork created by her. Updike seems very dismissive of even this one female contributor.

He does find room in his book to include a nude photo of the great artist Georgia O'Keefe, but no actual artwork created by O'Keeffe. That should give you a clue what the rest of the book is like.

Disturbing, too, are Updike's dismissive comments about Edward Hopper; he claims that Edward Hopper can't paint faces very well.

So even though I purchased this book, I don't recommend it to others. Give this one a pass. ... Read more

15. Odd Jobs: Essays and Criticism
by John Updike
Hardcover: 919 Pages (1991-10-15)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$89.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679404147
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Updike Essays
It's a shame that these earlier essays by Updike have gone out of print. Perceived in the same graceful style of his most famous essay collection, Hugging the Shore, which won the Pulitzer Prize, the readings in Picked Up Pieces are no less startling in their breathtaking insights and sympathetic readings of a wide range of authors and their works. Updike is so at ease with all aspects of the language and the culture that reading him is like a guided tour into the greatest pleasure and deepest instincts of the the literary terrain of the time. Highly recommended, and a vote to reprint these essays for our own time. ... Read more

16. Rabbit Novels Vol. 1
by John Updike
Paperback: 640 Pages (2003-11-04)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$7.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345464567
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The first and second novels in John Updike’s acclaimed quartet of Rabbit books–now in one marvelous volume.


“Brilliant and poignant . . . By his compassion, clarity of insight, and crystal-bright prose, [Updike] makes Rabbit’s sorrow his and out own.”
The Washington Post

“Precise, graceful, stunning, he is an athlete of words and images. He is also an impeccable observer of thoughts and feelings.”
The Village Voice


“ ‘Great in love, in art, boldness, freedom, wisdom, kindness, exceedingly rich in intelligence, wit, imagination, and feeling–a great and beautiful thing . . .’ these hyperboles (quoted from a letter written long ago by Thomas Mann) come to mind after reading John Updike’s Rabbit Redux.”
–The New York Times Book Review

“Updike owns a rare verbal genius, a gifted intelligence and a sense of tragedy made bearable by wit. . . .A masterpiece.”
Time ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars rabbit novels
I was extremely happy and the book was recieved in less than a week.I will positively deal with this seller again.

1-0 out of 5 stars Rabbit Run
I bought this book for a book club I am in.After reading about 20 pages of it, I had to stop.I really did not enjoy reading this and felt I could use my time to do just about anything else, including cleaning the bathroom, and get more out of it.This is unusual for me as I usually love anything I read.If you don't like depressing stories with unlikable characters, don't get this.On the one hand, I do not think reading only 20 pages gives me enough information to provide a fair review, however, only one person in our book group liked it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Updike is one of the great American Writers
Rabbit Run is a great American novel and the best part is Updike got better as time went on.It shows in Rabbit Redux.He writing is clearer and the story grabs you right away.The rebellious Harry becomes the sad, over-weight man at 36 going on 60.If someone loves to read a good book or is thinking about a career in writing they need to read these novels and see if they can even come close to Updike.If not, keep your day job!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good edition for reading
Just took this and the second volume on a beach vacation and consumed all four novels with eager gratefulness.I had read these first two novels when much younger - my take from later years is even more positive, although Updike's sexual obsession - and that is what it is - gets more tiresome more quickly to an older reader. To someone who has lived through the same times, these Rabbit novels are a gift, an illumination.These editions are far better than the one-volume Everyman edition, which is too heavy and can result in serious injury. Go for it.Read them quickly, in succession.You may be annoyed at times but the cumulative effect is to understand more about America, American decline (in particular note the Japanese Toyota executive's comments in Rabbit at Rest) and probably yourself.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I have just finished reading this book so I thought I would write my review when it is still fresh in my mind. The reason I completed this book (two books in one) is that I am a bigger fan of John Updike than I am of this book. The two other books of his I read and reviewed I enjoyed enormously, "Terrorist" and "In the Beauty of the Lilies," this, not so much, in fact hardly at all.

Perhaps it is a tribute to John Updike's genius as a writer that he can change his style from these early beginnings to the books I enjoyed so much.The descriptions are there as vividly as ever, but the subject matter is depressingly boring. It was as if he used this "diary of a nobody" to exercise his skill at writing about and describing sex acts, genitalia, and various forms of eroticism, sex being the predominant theme in the stories. Sex of course had only just been invented in the sixties, so it was all the rage and very much in vogue to immerse oneself in an orgy of self indulgence. Just as today the fashion, (promoted by Clinton) is oral sex, in the sixties masturbation had just been given a name and young boys were told they would not go blind after all. As good as they were technically, I did not find the descriptions in the least bit stimulating, just boring in a kind of here-we-go-again kind of way.

Harry's life is sad, he is a sad pathetic creature surrounded by sad pathetic creatures, so now you know what you are in for when you read this book. This is not an uplifting story, but perhaps the next book, "Rabbit is Rich" may be better. It seems that "Rabbit is Rich is the book which won John Updike the most accolades.

I will not go into the details of Harry's life, other people have done that, it is very much kitchen sink stuff anyway; up's and down's, tragedies, loves and losses. The best and most exciting description comes in the second book "Rabbit Redux" when the lover of Harry's wife who is in bed with her at the time, has a heart attack. It starts on page 334 in this book and continues for about three pages. John Updike builds up the tension, interest and excitement with the skill with which he became famous.

I will read the next two books, simply because these books are written so far apart John Updike has had time to develop and improve his story telling and perhaps Harry, (and the author) may have better things in mind than sex 24hrs a day.
... Read more

17. Rabbit Redux
by John Updike
Paperback: 368 Pages (1996-08-27)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0449911934
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The assumptions and obsessions that control our daily lives are explored in tantalizing detail by master novelist John Updike in this wise, witty, sexy story. Harry Angstrom--known to all as Rabbit, one of America's most famous literary characters--finds his dreary life shattered by the infidelity of his wife. How he resolves--or further complicates--his problems makes a compelling read. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (43)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not A Classic
David Foster Wallace classifies Updike with Roth and Mailer as one of the GANs, "Great American Narcissists," and anyone who has read Updike would tend to agree. Wallace's characterization of the man was not necessarily an insult, just a description, and Wallace generally approves of Updike. One can be an narcissist and also a great writer as well.

I had wanted to read Updike, and a great place to start was the Rabbit trilogy. I must admit, I found parts of "Rabbit, Run" to be repulsive, but, in the end, I saw what the hoopla was about, especially considering Updike's skill with descriptive prose.

I had high hopes for "Rabbit, Redux," but unfortunately I was disappointed. A classic is able to appeal to audiences of different eras and points to themes that are universal, part and parcel of the human condition. "Rabbit, Redux," was written during a very interesting and tumultuous period in America's history (think 1968), and one can see that it is the sort of novel that is inextricably linked to its time period. It features all of the typical concerns of the time period, such as Vietnam, a facination with drug culture, the tendency to do drugs and talk politics, but most especially the prevalance of racial tensions. There are even long descriptions of news reports of the time (the lunar landing, the Chicago riots), and a few side references to the Beatles.

The dated racial attitudes prevalent in "Rabbit, Redux", I found to be the most off-putting aspect of the novel. It is as if Angstrom's white utopia of "Rabbit, Run" had been infiltrated by black people, and this created a sort of existential dilemma for Angstrom. He examines black people with the detached, "scientific" fascination of one who was obviously was raised in a very homogenous racial environment.

The book also features the "apocolyptic" flavoring that was prevalent in the 1960s, the feeling that something big was "about-to-happen" that would change everything. In the middle of it all is 36 year old Harry Angstrom, who is not nearly as interesting as the twenty-something Angstrom of "Rabbit, Run." Everything Angstrom says is flavored by conservativism and cynicism, and it leads one to wonder why hipsters like Jill and Skeeter would spend any time with the man. Despite this, women seem to throw themselves at Angstrom, and there is a good deal of sexual description. In all, I would rather read the novel from Jill's perspective than from Harry's. Some like Kerouac rode the wave of the time period. Others just stood in the water and looked around.

I can see why readers of the time period would have hailed Updike as the messiah of American literature. But, given the perspective of 40 years, one can say with certainty: Updike is a good writer, but "Rabbit Redux" is not a classic, and it is not as good as "Rabbit, Run." It's not as good as "On the Road" either, for that matter.

4-0 out of 5 stars Still stewing in his own juices
Rabbit is back and it's 1969. Set against the backdrop of the first moon landing and the Vietnam war Harry Angstrom is once again thrown into personal turmoil. His wife leaves him for a co-worker, his mother is slowly dying, and his job is none too secure. Harry repopulates his house, and his life, with an itinerant 18-year-old rich girl and a black messianic veteran. His son Nelson remains at home with his father and has to come to terms with this new bohemian lifestyle. It's all sex and drugs and rock and roll (well, the blues anyway) for Harry and chums, but the breakdown of his marriage and the death of his first child haunt him throughout.

Rabbit is as flawed and conflicted as ever. At once open-minded and bigoted, he remains patriotic, even jingoistic, as he continues his struggles to grasp the American dream. And, although his behaviour is at times little short of incredulous, he remains a mostly sympathetic protagonist.

And, of course, Updike's prose is as sharp and insightful as ever. An essential read for all lovers of contemporary American literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great second act in the Rabbit tetralogy
It has been said that one of the hallmarks of a great novel is that it grows with you over the years, offering up new and deeper insights with each rereading.If that's true, then Rabbit Redux is a great novel, and perhaps the best of the four Rabbit books.Taking place right at the end of the turbulent 1960s, Rabbit Redux tells the story of the total undoing of Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom's middle class life, an undoing that is largely self-inflicted.And as counterpoint to Rabbit's undoing, it also captures in vivid and often poetic language an America that iscoming undone at the seams, torn apart by Vietnam, drugs, racial unrest, generational animus, and an all pervasive anything-goes attitude to morality.

I first read Rabbit Redux when I was sixteen.I can well remember thinking when I came to the end of the book back then that Rabbit, his life an ungodly wreck by the final page, was the embodiment of a loser, and certainly not a character worthy of my sympathy.I read the book again in my mid thirties, after having taken a few hard knocks of my own in life, and this time I felt more than a little empathy for poor ol' Rabbit; and also, surprisingly, a frightening chill at the realization of just how tenuious our hold really is on the so-called good-life. Well, as luck would have it, I came across a paperback copy of Rabbit Redux in a used book store not long ago, and, seeing the old familiar cover of a book I hadn't laid eyes on in years, I yielded to nostalgia and bought it.And then I read it.

Rabbit, of course, is still stuck back in 1969, still making all the same dumb mistakes, and still oblivious to his own stupidity.And I, of course, have moved on.Reading the book once more in middle-age was like stumbling upon a long lost friend fallen on hard times.I found myself wanting to grab hold of Rabbit and lecture him, caution him to think twice about what he was doing, warn him about all of the pitfalls that lay ahead of him.But Rabbit's fate, as envisioned by John Updike, is as irreversible as if it were set in stone.All I could do was witness once again a serio-comic calamity that passes for a life.And when it was all over, and I had set the book aside, I felt along with my previous empathy, a deep sense of sadness this time around: sadness for the waste that lies at the heart of so many live; saddness for a country that still hasn't regained its confidenceafter all these many years; and finally, sadness that an author capable of evoking so many emotions is no longer with us.

I can't recommend this book strongly enough.It may not change your life; but, if read more than once, it may well provide you with a yardstick against which to measure the changes in your life.Of course, in order to really get the full impact of Rabbit Redux, you'll have to read Rabbit Run first; and after that you'll no doubt want to read the two follow-up novels, Rabbitt Is Rich and Rabbit At Rest, as well.If nothing else, reading these books will lay to rest the falsity -- advanced largely by Gore Vidal -- that Updike was nothing more than a stodgy, provincial Protestant, who, out-of-step with his times, advanced in his books an outmoded, oppressive brand of morality.Trust me, no stodgy provincial could have created the likes of Rabbit Angstrom, and no one who was out-of-step with his times could have captured America so perfectly in the second half of the calamitous Twentieth Century.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rabbit, Racism, Randiness, Reactionaries and Remorse
Round Two with Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom starts in July 1969. Ten years have past since "Rabbit, Run" and the 36-year-old is muddling through a ho-hum existence. His shot at the American Dream has fallen very short. The book delves into the Vietnam War, women's rights, infidelity, racism, drug experimentation and a youth culture disillusioned with the status quo. Rabbit, a product of an earlier generation, is confused and frightened by the social upheaval taking place around him. Nothing seems concrete. Like in the first book, Rabbit, his wife and the other characters are annoying and unlikeable. I felt sorry for their son, Nelson, who has to live in this disfunctional environment. But Lordy, Mr. Updike was one fantastic writer. This book wallows in the dark aspects of the human condition. If you're looking for a pick-me-up, this isn't the book for you.

3-0 out of 5 stars Slightly Disappointing
I am working my way through the Rabbit novels and have just started Rabbit is Rich.I enjoyed Rabbit Run a lot and was slightly disappointed by Rabbit Redux.

There are great things about Rabbit Redux.I think that 10 years later, Rabbit is more thoughtful and has become a somewhat nicer person.He has become more at peace with his existence.When he discovers his wife, Janice, is having an affair, he is fairly unbothered and tells her that she can keep the lover if she wants to as long as he doesn't have to see it.Of course, this drives her away.

The core of the book deals with Rabbit's interactions with 3 other people that begin living with him.Jill is an 18 year old runaway with addiction issues and is from a well to do family.She moves in with Rabbit and they have a sexual relationship much to the dismay of everyone who knows Rabbit since he is 36.Nelson, Rabbit's 13 year old also lives there and is infatuated with Jill. The real wildcard character is Skeeter the radical black activist Viet Nam vet who is also having sex with Jill.This group spends a lot of time discussing and debating the issues of the late 60s including race and Viet Nam.

I agree with a previous reviewer who described Skeeter as Jar Jar Binks.He is simply so annoying that his voice in the debate is lost.I simply lost patience and his voice became blah, blah, blah to me.

So, while I liked the character progression of Rabbit, I was really put off by Skeeter.

I still liked Rabbit Redux but not as much as Rabbit Run. ... Read more

18. Licks of Love: Short Stories and a Sequel, "Rabbit Remembered"
by John Updike
Paperback: 368 Pages (2001-11-27)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$5.71
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Asin: 0345442016
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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“A TOUCHING, ELEGIAC COLLECTION OF STORIES about infidelity, about the weight of family, about the dwindling of years, about the heart and other organs. . . . [Updike] works so slowly and carefully that you rarely see the emotional punches coming.”

“THESE STORIES SHARE A THEME OF RETROSPECT AND A BITTERSWEET TONE OF FORGIVENESS. . . . Updike, who has found in Rabbit an indispensable, if unlikely, vehicle for his truest insights into the mysterious of manhood, the promise of American life and the operations of divine grace, could no more pass up the opportunity for a further Rabbit report than Rabbit himself could forgo a bowl of macadamia nuts. . . . His observations eddy and swirl into the main stream of his narrative, swelling it with life.”
–The New York Times Book Review

“ ‘RABBIT REMEMBERED’ IS A THING OF RICH SATISFACTION. . . . IMPOSSIBLE TO FORGET . . . Throughout the collection are passages of stylistic certainty and bittersweet intimacy.”
–The Boston Sunday Globe

“OUTSTANDING WORK . . . We always suspected that Updike would try to pull one more Rabbit out of his hat. Now, some 10 years after the death of everybody’s favorite Updike character, Updike has done just that, and with great success. . . . ‘Rabbit Remembered’ ranks with his best work.”
–The Star-Ledger

–Entertainment Weekly
Amazon.com Review
If John Updike had never published anything but short stories--if the novels, essays, verse, and reams of occasional prose vanished into thin air--he would still be a presence to reckon with in American letters. Having said that, it's only fair to point out that his 13th collection, Licks of Love, is one of the master's patchier efforts. He has lost none of his notorious fluency, and even the duds are enlivened by lovely stabs of perception. But in several tales ("The Women Who Got Away," "New York Girl," "Natural Color"), Updike seems perversely bent on proving his detractors right, serving up familiar narratives of adultery and '60s-era swinging. There's no reason why lust and rage shouldn't dance attendance on this randy genius's old age. But he's already written about the art of extracurricular canoodling at such length that these entries are bound to seem like retreads.

That's the bad news. The good news is that the rest of the collection is a sheer delight. "My Father on the Verge of Disgrace" explores some fascinating Oedipal outskirts, even as the narrator's first cigarette takes on a theological accent: "It was my way of becoming a human being, and part of being human is being on the verge of disgrace." In "How Was It, Really?" Updike unveils the real dirty secret of old age, which is not the persistence of erotic appetite but the inevitable, appalling failure of memory. Best of all, he returns to two of his longest-running franchises, with admirable results in both cases. "His Oeuvre" revives that Semitic doppelgänger Henry Bech for one more lap around the track, and finds the author making intermittent fun of his own fancy prose style. Harry Angstrom is, needless to say, beyond hope of resurrection. But in a 182-page novella, "Rabbit Remembered," Updike brings back his survivors for a superb, surprising curtain call. The author's present-tense notation of American life (whose paradoxical epicenter is, as always, Brewer, Pennsylvania) remains as mesmerizing as ever. And despite his death, the putative hero is everywhere, as his illegitimate daughter returns to the unwilling bosom of the Angstrom clan: "A whiff of Harry, a pale glow, an unsettling drift comes off this girl, this thirty-nine-year-old piece of evidence." Wallowing in this unexpected bonus, Updike fans should steel themselves for a single pang of regret: this is likely to be the last Rabbit he will pull from his hat. --James Marcus ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars This one is my absolute favorite and I have all his books.
Every single story is a little love gem which then lives in your heart.Once you own this book, it will live by your bedside forever.

1-0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment
This book confirms what has long been suspected and people are afraid to say: John Updike is overrated. His stories in this book are tired rehashes of ground he has plowed for too many decades. The sentences are so well "crafted" that they are belabored, not beautiful. They lack flow, and reading one after another is simply tedious.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rabbit would be proud, almost (4 *s: the Rabbit effect)
At the end of Rabbit at Rest, Harry Angstrom, aka Rabbit, had enough: his declining health, his little mutt of a wife Janice, and his wimpy, cocaine-snorting son Nelson. But life went on for others, and in "Rabbit Remembered," the predominate part of this collection, the author allows a window into their lives ten years after Rabbit's demise.

The influence of Rabbit has hardly disappeared. Rabbit's childhood friend Ronnie Harrison and a meathead in Rabbit's view has married Janice. Rabbit's suspicion that an affair with Ruth years ago produced a child proves correct as Annabelle Byer presents herself at Janice's front door ten years after Harry's death. And Nelson has righted himself by becoming a mental-health counselor, though his marriage to Pru has disintegrated. There are issues to be worked out, but Harry's optimism seems to pervade these characters far more than at the end of Rabbit at Rest. There are several contentious scenes, but there is a refreshing ability and willingness to look issues in the eye that was not necessarily present in Rabbit's day.

"Rabbit Remembered" is the reason to buy this book. But for those unfamiliar with the Rabbit series, it could have little meaning with the countless references and assumptions concerning the previous books, especially the last one. The other stories in the book pale in comparison. The themes that Updike likes to engage - marriage, obsession, infidelity, regret, etc - seem better suited to novels than short stories. Somehow snippets of these themes are not satisfying.

3-0 out of 5 stars Updike offers up One More Rabbit for the Fans
When future historians try to understand the Sexual Revolution of the latter twentieth century, they will probably find no more useful documents than the fiction of John Updike, whose obsession with sex, particularly the adulterous variety, is unparalleled in modern literature.In Updike's world, pick any four couples and you've got yourself seven adulterers and one weirdo - quite a different Pennsylvania from the one this reviewer lives in.

In this mixed volume of fiction, "The Women Who Got Away", "New York Girl", "Natural Color", the Bech story "His Oeuvre" and the surprising "Scene From the Fifties" all revolve around marital infidelity and the burgeoning sexual revolution.Updike's obsession with adultery leads one to suspect that the writer suffered from post-coital remorse, and tried to come to grips with his own indiscretions by implying that they are symptomatic of the culture, and so not really his fault.The stories invariably show how tawdry these encounters are, how irresponsible he recognizes them to be, and how paranoid the perpetrators become, all to convince someone (His family?His mistress? His readers?His Maker?) that it really wasn't all that much fun."Let me off easy," he seems to be saying, "I've already suffered enough."

"Rabbit Remembered" is the real class of this collection, and a worthy capstone to the Rabbit series, but readers unfamiliar with the four novels preceding shouldn't expect to get much out of it.Recapitulations of the events from the prior novels are often pretty brief, giving the barest review of the facts and skipping all the emotional fallout.The focus is on the late Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom's son Nelson, and the changes that take place in his life when his unbeknownst half-sister Annabelle shows up at his mother's house.

Fans of Updike's work will surely appreciate this one last entry into the Rabbit franchise, even if there isn't much else to recommend this volume.Those new to Updike should start anywhere but here; the adultery-go-round of the first dozen stories is sure to leave a bad taste in the mouths of most readers, and the redeeming qualities of "Remembered" will be wholly opaque to the uninitiated.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fine read
Updike writes transcendent prose, this is why I always defer to his books. This short story collection also includes a gift, the epilogue to the epic Rabbit series, which was a formative part of my modern reading education in the 80s. As Augustus commanded Rome, so Updike commands English language and expression; his metaphor and tone transport. All the stories center on love and take place in the Northeast.They are authentic and heartfelt, if at times a little similar in downbeat tone.

For this version of my review, I will to concentrate on "Rabbit Remembered", which touches on the depth of "Brother Grasshopper" from a previous short story collection, I forget which."Rabbit Remembered" focuses on Nelson, Janice, and Nelson's new sister, adult, Anabelle.Anabelle is Harry's illegitimate daughter from Ruth. She's more than that: Harry enters everyone's mind in both grim and charitable recollections through Anabelle, who is less destructive, endearing almost.I'm glad for this conclusion because I don't remember "Rabbit at Rest" that clearly, but this somehow brings the definitive American series full closure. ... Read more

19. Endpoint and Other Poems
by John Updike
Hardcover: 112 Pages (2009-03-31)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$11.43
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Asin: 0307272869
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A stunning collection of poems that John Updike wrote during the last seven years of his life and put together only weeks before he died for this, his final book.

The opening sequence, “Endpoint,” is made up of a series of connected poems written on the occasions of his recent birthdays and culminates in his confrontation with his final illness. He looks back on the boy that he was, on the family, the small town, the people, and the circumstances that fed his love of writing, and he finds endless delight and solace in “turning the oddities of life into words.”

“Other Poems” range from the fanciful (what would it be like to be a stolen Rembrandt painting? he muses) to the celebratory, capturing the flux of life. A section of sonnets follows, some inspired by travels to distant lands, others celebrating the idiosyncrasies of nature in his own backyard.

For John Updike, the writing of poetry was always a special joy, and this final collection is an eloquent and moving testament to the life of this extraordinary writer. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars The best Updike ever!
I marvelled over each page...even when he was dying...he wrote beautiful poetry about the act of dying.This man is excellent...it goes without saying.The book arrived perfectly and without damage.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Endpoint of a Writer's Life
John Updike's "Endpoint and Other Poems" was published posthumously last year, after a long and stellar writing career. Some of these poems were written in the last year of his life, some even in the last month.

The volume is divided into four sections: Endpoint, which are a series of birthday poems he wrote for himself between 2002 and 2008, along with poems written in the hospital as he was dying; Other Poems, an eclectic group whose subjects range from stolen paintings and singer Frankie Lane to doo wop and an elegy for golfer Payne Stewart; Sonnets, which cover music, places and people both real and imagined; and Light and Personal, which include poems on country music and his wife on her birthday.

A selection from the birthday poem for 2008, "Spirit of '76," written in Tucson, Arizona, gives a sense of the Endpoint poems:

Here in this place of arid clarity,
two thousand miles from my souvenirs
collect a cozy dust, the piled produce
of bald ambition pulling ignorama,
I see clear through to the ultimate page,
the silence I dared break for my small time.
No piece was easy, but each fell finished,
in its shroud of print, into a book-shaped hole.

And from "Baseball:"

...football can be learned,
and basketball finessed, but
there is no hiding from baseball
the fact that some are chosen
and some are not...

There is something of self-indulgence about many of these poems. But in the last years of Updike's life, with the body of fiction, essays, articles, poetry and even movie reviews he left behind, self-indulgence can be forgiven.

"Endpoint and Other Poems" is the work of old age, when confidence and reputation is not something to be achieved and accomplished but simply enjoyed. And I think John Updike enjoyed writing these poems.

5-0 out of 5 stars Endpoint and Other Poems
So easy to relate to and thought provoking. His ease at expressing himself is so apparent. Love it! I will get it as a gift to my step daughter who recently lost her Mom.

5-0 out of 5 stars John Updike
His fiction praised,awards and honors won,
John always seemed too Ivy League for me.
Rabbit was much too horny for my taste.
Although I read Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu
A dozen times,his skinny book of poems
Was just a whim, purchased to pass my time.
I think he may have saved his best for last
And see his genius now for what it was.

I too search for that boy lost in my mirror
And think of friends and family long since gone,
My birthdays savored like these classic poems.
John lingered with us long enough to leave
A final gift for those who stayed to watch
The credits roll before the curtain fell.

5-0 out of 5 stars John Updike's Endpoint and Other Poems

If you like poetry, poetry that will move you and stay with you after the book is closed and put on a shelf, you will like this book.The most amazing aspect of this for me is that, even though Updike was at the very end of his life (he died in 1/09), he was creating wonderful new poetry with practically his last breath.It is inspiring on many, many levels. Read this book yourself, and find out how it strikes you. ... Read more

20. Couples
by John Updike
Hardcover: 458 Pages (1968)
-- used & new: US$34.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000Q60N3W
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
From the inside of dust jacket: John Updike's fifth novel concerns the interactions of ten couples in an out-of-the-way New England community called Tarbox. The circle of acquaintance is felt as a magic circle, with ritual games, religious substitutions, a priest (Freddy Thorne), and a scapegoat (Piet Haneman). The action runs from the spring of 1963 through the following spring. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Couples put Updike on the map (and the cover of TIME)
With the recent passing of this literary giant, there is much attention focused on perhaps the greatest American writer of the 20th century (allowing the first decade to be owned by Mr. Twain).
It would be best for a beginner to read the "Rabbit..." series, but "Couples" will introduce you to the seething, angst-ridden world of 1960's-era suburbia, populated by couples with nothing to do but have affairs with each other. It seems dated now (it takes place from 1962 to early 1964), but the writing is timeless. ... Read more

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