Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rabbit Run - post IV

In some respects you finish this book with your own ideas about Rabbit but you are grateful for an afterword by Updike that helps clarify some points. He is using a character as a way of challenging American attitudes and working out what some of the big questions are.

The problem is that you come to the end of the book and you are still left wondering what some of those answers are and questioning the response of running away from trying to figure them out.

After his daughter dies and his wife falls apart Rabbit returns from his fateful night away and starts to pick up the pieces but at the graveside he cannot resist asking out loud why everyone is treating him like a murderer when it was his wife’s fault. He then heads off at speed running through the woods rather than facing the fallout from that one.

He blusters back into Ruth’s flat and she shouts and screams at him for being selfish and useless and rather than take in what she has said he walks out the door and starts running.

The sense of failure is reinforced by the appearance at a couple of points of his old basketball coach who has had a stroke. In the afterward Updike points out that he lived in towns packed full of failed high school basketball players so finding the inspiration for Rabbit was not that difficult.

Will have to get together my thoughts for a review to be posted soon…

1 comment:

jamesewan said...

I agree that the book leaves you feeling uncomfortable with its unanswered questions, and that the afterword provides some useful clues. I was writing my own review of the novel on my blog today, and picked this out from the afterword: “Readers who expect novelists to reward and punish and satirize their characters from a superior standpoint will be disappointed ... I sought to present sides of an unresolvable tension intrinsic to being human”. ‘Rabbit, Run’ makes no concessions to the resolution of human predicament, which makes it all the more real I suppose. Enjoying your blog, keep up the good work.