Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Rabbit, Run by John Updike

"That was the thing about him, he just lived in his skin and didn't give a thought to the consequences of anything"

I was really reticent to read this novel, having read somewhere about the rather depressing denouement and yet, given its place on so many "must read" lists, I cracked the spine. Much has been said about how horrible a character Rabbit is and yet in someways he's relatable to us all. A once brilliant athlete in high school, his glory days are long gone and adulthood, full of responsibilities becomes an all together too dreary prospect. So, as the title suggests, he runs, albeit out on his heavily pregnant wife.

This is quite a common phenomenon  and I can kind of sympathise with that notion of impending entrapment that both parties might feel with an upcoming birth. A woman whose body is no longer her own, and a man who only comes to the realisation of how that might impact his life at a space way where it is too late to really back out.

Rabbit runs and finds his old coach and the accommodating Ruth. His self absorption continues and he weaves a path of destruction in all his romantic entanglements. For they are less about romance and more about fending off the monotony of reality. Rarely have the unuttered and unlikeable thoughts that secretly plague us all been so vividly realised. I finished this book in an hour it was engrossing. Our own poor behaviour is acceptable to ourself as we explain it away, and yet our impact on others can be so devastating and never more so than here.

I'm eager to see where the sequels go.

5 out of 5 gritty but engrossing pages fraught with imperfect humans.

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