Saturday, 14 July 2012

A Rabbit Omnibus - John Updike (1)

Okay, I should have read the American master years ago, but what can I say?  Better late than never.  This Penguin collection isn't, of course, the complete Rabbit, but the first three instalments, Run, Redux, and Rich.  I'm reading them separately amid my other reading, and will review them here in the same way.

Rabbit Run then, from 1960.  The story of a twenty-something who can't quite come to terms with adult responsibility.  He runs away, literally, three times.  Such a simple story with a handful of characters yet executed with such minute detail that it's like a compressed War and Peace.  There are no stereotypes here, no good guys or villains.  Everyone, down to Nelson the toddler, is three-dimensional, drawn with empathy and compassion.  Thus the tragedy, when it comes, is shattering.  I don't do plot spoilers in this blog, so let's just say I have never, in half a century of reading, come across that particular tragedy in any other novel.  It is one of those everyday catastrophes that we simply don't talk about - and here too, once it has happened, nobody really talks about it.

A stunning read.  A genius at work.

2 comments:

  1. I am halfway throug hte Omnibus, having read Run and nearly finished Redux. I entirely agree with you. It is a shocking unravelling of the American dream and an example of a man whose glory days are slipping away from him all too quickly and is fascinating.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Let me know what you think of Redux.

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