|Purchase: Amazon | Chapters|
Genre: Literary Fiction, Series (book #1)
Start Date: Feb. 4, 2011
Finished Date: Feb. 12, 2011
Where Found: Xmas 2010 gift from my dad (on my wish list)
Why Read: I've always been interested in John Updike, given his consideration in the literary world as one of the greatest American writers ever.
Read For: 1st in a Series challenge
Summary: A former high school basketball phenom still clinging to his days of glory contemplates leaving his pregnant wife and young son when he falls in love with his saucy mistress while a local priest tries to repair the damage.
John Updike is often listed as one of America's greatest writers, and one that I've wanted to read at least one book by, even if it was just to say I did, and, if I'm really lucky, to say that I did and I loved it or even that it's a newfound favourite. Well...like the Meat Loaf song goes, "two out of three ain't bad."
Once I finished the book and allowed it to settle with me, I didn't mind it but was far from tops. I had an on-and-off reaction to it, stopping & starting like a stalled motor. The characters can be rather nervy and self-centred without a smidge of empathy or restraint but the irresistible prose paints quite a symbolic picture of bleak 1960s suburban life. The character of Harry Angstrom is like an adult Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye stuck in the symbolic setting of The Great Gatsby, and contemplating an escape reminiscent of On the Road, all works written during or as an allusion to the Beat Generation, but with more dire consequences. Apparently, Updike's purpose was to show how one person's actions for their own self-benefit or self-desire affects those invested in the person, such as family, friends, and colleagues.
The bottom line is I wasn't too impressed by it but I'm glad I read it. At the moment, I'm not interested in continuing the series, though I may give it a try if I get stuck for reading suggestions...though that's not likely to happen with the size of my TBR list :D The 3rd and 4th books won Pulitizers, so perhaps it would have been better to try one of those rather than reading the intial book of the series. It must be the type-A side of me coming through :D I will try The Witches of Eastwick some time as I hear that it's very different in style from the Rabbit series.
Rank: (C)- Okay, Maybe Try It