Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Rabbit At Rest

When hearing about John Updike's death today, I cast back to a long summer I spent reading his entire Rabbit series, novels that get better with each sequel. I was miserably depressed that summer, not knowing if I was going to leave Texas for Detroit. My then-boyfriend was, umm, not that interested in talking about the subject. At all. Many years younger than he was, I found myself shut down. So I took my solace in the trials of Rabbit Angstrom and drove myself crazy with the age-old Clash question, Should I stay or should I go? Well, dear readers, I went. And never regretted it. I love John Updike's writing and was desperately sad when I finished Rabbit At Rest. I was in motion, but I hated leaving behind that world. Updike understood men and women, the complex pain of marriage and divorce. I remember teaching a story of his in Texas and my students (all very young) were sure that they would never put up with the shit the wife did in the story. Not for one minute. When I taught that story to a more mixed-age group years later, people nodded with understanding. Which is the only fitting response to a world in which nothing is easy.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Dreams come true; without that possibility, nature would not incite us to have them." John Updike

Cocktail Hour
Drinking suggestion: a martini lifted for Mr. Updike

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!


Anonymous said...

Dr. Brooks:

I hope that you have read the novella Rabbit Remembered from Updike's short story collection Licks of Love. We see everyone ten years after Harry's death. Most cool, in a high school reunion kind of way.

Becky's death, in Rabbit, Run is still one of the most horrifying scenes in literature.

Regards, Dave

Anonymous said...

Great epiphany is Updike's story "A&P." I've taught it at the collegiate level and even the blockheads get it.--Herman Northrup Frye

Anonymous said...

We filled Patti Smith's order for ground chuck when she was a suburban housewife in St. Clair Shores, Michigan!!! The right store at the right price!!! Go Krogering!!!!!! Get fantastic deals at depression-level low prices!!!--Mr. Whipple and Artie the bagger

Scott said...


My friend Misanthropic Anthropoid told me at work today that john updike had died. I admittedly haven't read much of his material, but recognize his talent.

Hope your week is going well. Take care!

the walking man said...

Am I at the age where I will recognize an obit a week of icons of my generation?

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm sorry to hear of his death. I'm not a big fan of his stories, though I admire very much his ability with language.

robthefob said...

This is a great post. Marriage, and how it works--or doesn't--is one of the greatest mystery I know of. I don't understand it one bit.