• Rabbit, Run

  • By: John Updike
  • Narrated by: Arthur Morey
  • Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (856 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Rabbit, Run is the book that established John Updike as one of the major American novelists of his - or any other - generation. Its hero is Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a onetime high-school basketball star who on an impulse deserts his wife and son. He is 26 years old, a man-child caught in a struggle between instinct and thought, self and society, sexual gratification and family duty - even, in a sense, human hard-heartedness, and divine Grace. Though his flight from home traces a zigzag of evasion, he holds to the faith that he is on the right path, an invisible line toward his own salvation as straight as a ruler’s edge.

©1996 John Updike (P)2008 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Brilliant and poignant...By his compassion, clarity of insight and crystal-bright prose, he makes Rabbit's sorrow his and our own." ( The Washington Post)

“A lacerating story of loss and of seeking, written in prose that is charged with emotion but is always held under impeccable control.” (Kansas City Star)

What listeners say about Rabbit, Run

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Thinking Man's Novel

This book centers on Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, ex high school football star who feels trapped in a mediocre marriage. He refuses to grow up or accept any responsibility and runs away from his pregnant wife in search of some meaning...with disastrous results to all those around him. Rabbit is a selfish coward in all that he does. And yet I (and the other characters in the book) couldn't help liking this amoral anti-hero. However, I'm not sure how much I actually "enjoyed" this novel as it portayed a disturbing picture of man and life and provided no solutions: so beware this is not a happy, "feel good" story. But I did appreciate the excellent writing with its vivid metaphors, explicit descriptions and convincing characters. I became engrossed in the tragic story as it unfolded and found it hard to put down. The narration was perfecly paced and clear. All in all, I think it's well worth listening to and am now wondering whether to wait for the audioversion of the sequel 'Rabbit Redux' or just to read the printed version.

36 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great, but gritty and depressing

A great novel in the American tradition of Twain, Hemingway, Salinger. That sounds really lofty, but Updike's character is cranky, funny and perceptive about the stupidities of society in just the same ineffable way as those writers' creations. Be prepared for a somewhat depressing story set in industrial PA in the early 60's.

Good reader, too.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

4.09 stars........Updike keeps it real

This is the first book in a series of four novels. While this isn't a favorite novel of mine, Updike does enough in this first installment to cause me to pick up Book 2 at some point in the future. Since this is the first book in a series, I would only recommend it to those who are interested in the series as a whole. It is a good listen, but not a great one. However, Updike won two Pultizer Prizes for his later works in this series, so maybe the next books improve on this already above average recording. The narrator is the perfect choice for a book like this.

Overall rating: 4.09

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JC
  • 04-16-12

A Masterpiece! Updike Delivers Complexity, Simply

I had no idea what to expect with this book, as the title does not give much help--at least at first. John Updike is a masterful writer, and his direct and simple style should not be mistaken for anything but genius. He brought these characters to life in a way that made all of my senses lose come alive! I know that many of the themes in this book, and frankly the series, are/were highly controversial in their day. Yet, Updike is so elegant in his word choice as he shines the light of truth on these characters and their stories that you cannot help but relate. Rabbit is an everyman, and unless you live in a cave or are lying to yourself, one or more of his qualities or points of view will resonate. I think this is a must read for the serious audiophile, and I promise that before you know it you will be finishing with "Rabbit Remembered" a novella which ties up all the lose ends of one of literatures most intriguing characters, and an enduring story about being American. I read this book nearly two years ago, and I still think about it all the time. Do not get in your own way or allow any of the poor reviews by the hermits to dissuade your purchase. Updike is a master, and his stories are real and believable.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Disturbing

This is a disturbing book at many levels. Speaks volumes of the shallowness of the American character developing in the 60's that has grown more prevalent today.

If you aren't troubled by this book, something is wrong with your listening skills. From the spoiling of children to the folly of 'church' to the false character building of sport and the insignificance of achievements, all here, all disturbing.

This is a brilliant work and should be on the same list as Catch-22. Brilliant.

And subtle. It won't club you over the head but you won't feel well at the end.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Stick with it

As a man, I was very much able to identify with many of the main characters attributes and flaws. Updike does a magnificant job of turning a character who you should hate for his acts into one who you cannot help but love! Stick with this book as it starts a bit slow, but draws you in through its magnetic main character.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Well-written but boring and depressing

As previous reviewers have mentioned, this is very well-written. The language used is incredibly descriptive and artistic. Unfortunately, for me, that is the book's only virtue. Everything in this novel seems negative or depressing. Nobody is happy, nothing is pretty, everything is very dark. Yeah, life may be like that, but I certainly don't find it entertaining to "read" about it!

Additionally, the plot is rather anticlimactic. I kept listening because I thought something interesting was going to happen, but it just never did. This may be fine for some people, but I found myself nodding off while I was listening to most of the story. This may be due in part to the narrator, who did a decent job but seemed to whine more than anything else. This can make or break an audiobook for me and, unfortunately, it broke it here.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Reality can be depressing...

I never read the "Rabbit" series in my youth and am now trying to catch up. I am a 56 year old male whose time frame is just a few years after the setting of this book. I find Updike's perspective to be fairly advanced for it's time, but a bit disturbing today (politically incorrect now). For this reason, I think that it acts as a time capsule, a view into the male psyche of that era for those who didn't live through it. Much classic literature fulfills this role, but I believe that older Americans are still too close to this era to properly convey the atmosphere to today's youth. This series may accomplish that, in the manner of Catcher In the Rye. That said, this is not for "the depressed" as was stated by another reviewer.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Ugh

The story has some of the most beautiful language you will ever read, but the plot is a never ending deluge of sick perverseness. I am discouraged because I wanted to read the whole rabbit series since two of the books won the Pulitzer Prize. Unfortunately, just one rabbit book has made me decide to take a break from John Updike. 😧

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

"...press two to hear the next chapter"

The monotonous, uninflected, seemingly uncomprehending, reading doesn't ruin the sublime writing, but comes too close.

4 people found this helpful