Rabbit at Rest

Narrated by: Arthur Morey
Series: Rabbit Quartet, Book 4
Length: 22 hrs and 13 mins
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
4.5 out of 5 stars (152 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.
©1996 John Updike (P)2009 Random House

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

I Cannot Add to Glowing Reviews

This may very well be the best way to experience Rabbit at Rest. The performance is excellent and being of the right vintage, I can relate to many of Rabbit's feeling.

If I write a long review, many would not read it. So let me just plead with you to experience the entire series starting with Rabbit Run. Just experience it. You won't be disappointed.

Whoosh.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

classic rabbit

Classic Updike, classic rabbit. Sorry this is the end....

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Classic American Rabbit; some flaws

I always enjoy re-visiting Updike's iconic character Rabbit Angstrom and his supremely self-centered and mundane activities. Harry Angstrom is a dreadful person, driven entirely by his own selfish desires against a backdrop of equally flawed characters and a specifically narrow and atomically detailed landscape of American popular culture. Yet, Updike's genius is that he somehow draws the reader close to these characters so we continue to care what happens to them.


The performance itself is simply not up to the material. Morey has an odd way of putting the wrong inflections on his phrasing. Too often the prose and dialog completely mismatch the actual words. As just one of many examples, at one point Rabbit is playing golf with lifelong frenemy Ronnie Harrison, and the latter punctuates their conversation at the hole with "your honor." The obvious golf context of the use of "honor" is that Rabbit has earned the right to tee off first on the next hole (and yes, there is too much golf in this volume of the Rabbit series), but Morey pronounces it "your HON-or", as if addressing a judge in a court of law. This criticism sounds ridiculously nitpicky, but the cumulative effect of such gaffes detracts from the overall enjoyment of the work. This may well be an unfairly subjective criticism, but I found myself time and again thinking to myself "that's not how that part should sound," or "that's not how that character talks!". Personally, I find Morey to be a mismatch for the Rabbit series.


My other main issue with Morey's performance is his method of dealing with verbatim song lyrics with a monotone chant. This choice becomes glaring and cringeworthy in a work that is loaded with directly transcribed commercial jingles, children's songs (while sailing with his granddaughter), and the seemingly endless stretch of car radio tunes on Rabbit's long (long long long) solo drive down to Florida. I suppose that Morey did not want to actually sing (perhaps he cannot carry a tune?) but the effect of his one-note incantations is so wincingly awkward that I found myself swiping past them as soon as they popped up in the narratives.


I am a fan of Updike's Rabbit series and his hard-hearted, upper middle-class, photorealistic, uncharitably rendered characters. This is overall a satisfying read as a physical book, although there are some sections that were a bit bloated for my tastes (the aforementioned car radio jingle journey for example). However, Morey's work on this final edition of Harry Angstrom's is uninspired, careless, and distracting.


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Can’t imagine better

Updike is ridiculously underrated. Why? Some say his characters are too middle class Morey makes the most of it, clear as a bell!

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  • MB
  • 09-01-13

Marvelous Writing

Would you listen to Rabbit at Rest again? Why?

Beautifully written. Every paragraph is written from heart with a gem hidden in a sentence or two. Have finished reading/listening to the four Rabbit books and listening to Rabbit Remembered now thinking these books are certainly among the best of American writings.

What does Arthur Morey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The reader makes the whole experience even more pleasurable. Could not have been performed better. Warm and beautiful voice with deliberate, exact and faithful reading of the text. Wonderful.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The Last and Best of the Rabbit Novels

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Well, first I would recommend reading the first three books or at least the first one. It is ble to be read as a stand alone book but seeing the characters develop across four decades of American history is really great and Arthur Morey really hits the nail on the head as narrator. His flat, Philadelphia accent isn't too far off from Updike's own (having listened to the John Updike Audio Collection I have had the joy of hearing the author's own voice) and the steady,unhurried way he narrates makes all of the deadpan comedy really come home. I'm also a native of Pennsylvania but from the Pittsburgh side and I can identify with so much of the places and characters.

What other book might you compare Rabbit at Rest to and why?

Obviously the first three books are comparable but despite its length, it is much better paced that either the second or third novels (the latter of which I thought to be too long for its own good). I truly liked how the series came full circle at the end bringing in elements of the first novel back for good measure. A great finish to the series (with Rabbit living in any case. The extra novella is a bit unnecessary although it ends nicely).

What about Arthur Morey’s performance did you like?

His Philadelphia accent and the perfect deadpan comedy.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The basketball game at the end was moving in that it showed the series coming full circle.

Any additional comments?

Aside from Nelson's character for the first two thirds of the novel, this is the best book in the series. Rabbit finally can do all that he couldn't do in the first book. We have the feeling that he was finally able to run away for good and there was a safe place waiting for him unlike his run away into the scary unknown in the first book. I like how Nelson reforms however at the expense of everything and even Janice smartens up a bit. The adventures in Florida in the beginning are perfectly wonderful. It was nice not to have to put up with Ronnie until later in the book. The main problem is Nelson and even that is nicely handled.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Terrible

Didn't like the story or the reader's voice. Can't imagine how this won a Pulitzer.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Dont bother

I did not finish it. I got about half way through determined that the plot was stupid and returned the book for a refund. If you don't really analyze stories as you read then you might like it. But the anthropomorphizing of the aliens, scattered plot, zero character development, and almost omnipotent and omniscient aliens was too much disbelief for me to suspend.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Needs condensation badly

I overdosed on Rabbit: <Rabbit, Run> and then <Rabbit at Rest>. I listened to the end of part 2 because I looked forward to his death. Instead, I found I had another 7 hours to listen to, full of useless detail. After another 30 minutes of part 3, which held my attention because of a sexual encounter (one of far too many) I gave up. I was sick of hearing about him.

3 people found this helpful