Updike is very good at using a small cast of characters to describe the state of a nation. Through the social club that is the husbands and wives that meet at weekends and sleep with one another the attention to detail on the background and landscape is telling you something about America.
The majority of the group are anti-Kennedy republicans who have no idea what awaits them in the form of the assassination, Vietnam and the social upheaval of the 1960s. So in that respect this is a snapshot into the calm before the storm.
But these people seem to be inspiring anger rather than pity with their lives full of holes that affairs and the intrigue around them are used to try to fill. As a result this is not an easy book to read. The 450 pages lie before you as a long road. But just as with Rabbit Run you know that in those pages you will learn something about America, about the view of that time that Updike wants to recollect and produce and that keeps you going.