Rabbit at Rest by John Updike

Published: 1990

Genre: literary fiction

Length: 512 pages

Setting: Brewer, PA and Deleon, FL, 1980s

Interest: It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner

Summary: This is the final book about Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom. Harry is semi-retired from the car dealership. He and Janice spend their winters in a condo in Deleon, Florida so Nelson can run the lot without interference. Too bad Nelson has gotten hooked on cocaine and is stealing money from the dealership to support his habit. Harry also has a heart attack and is supposed to change his diet and exercise more. Instead, he just drifts along doing not much of anything besides worrying about death. It’s especially apparent because Janice decides to become a real estate agent and Harry just sits around. Things come to a head when Pru (Nelson’s wife) confesses that she slept with Harry after a heart procedure.

Final thoughts: I’m not sure why this won a Pulitzer Prize, unless the judges were impressed with how well Updike portrayed a cranky old guy who liked to fantasize about sex with most women. Even better if he actually gets to have sex with them (he’s got a mistress and sleeps with his daughter-in-law – but that was only once and they never talked about it so it doesn’t count). According to Harry, everything was better before the gays and blacks got into it and drugs and HIV are going to ruin us all. Blech. Not my idea of a good time to read, but obviously I didn’t hate it too much since I read the whole series just to be able to understand this Pulitzer Prize winner. The saddest part of the book was the end, though. Harry’s finally making changes for the better and has a second, much more severe heart attack.

Title comes from: Rabbit is Henry’s nickname and he was the narrator. He’s at rest because of his attitude.

Awards won: a Pulitzer Prize in 1991

Reading challenges fulfilled: 86/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge, a U in my Author Alphabet Challenge, and 15/12 in my Award Winning Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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