The hero of John Updike's Rabbit, Run (1960), ten years after the hectic events described in Rabbit Redux (1971), has come to enjoy considerable prosperity as Chief Sales Representative of Springer Motors, a Toyota agency in Brewer, Pennsylvania. The time is 1979: Skylab is falling, gas lines are lengthening, the President collapses while running in a marathon, and double-digit inflation coincides with a deflation of national confidence. Nevertheless, Harry Angstrom feels in good shape, ready to enjoy life at last -- until his son, Nelson, returns from the West, and the image of an old love pays a visit to his lot. New characters and old populate these scenes from Rabbit's middle age, as he continues to pursue, in his erratic fashion, the rainbow of happiness.
"What the New World was to Renaissance cartographers, sex is to Updike. No one has put so many coasts, bays, and rivers where once there was only silence. It is all steamy but not exactly stimulating....Updike's merciless attention and packed style do get in the way....[The] busy marriage bed finally gets as romantic as the April issue of 'Consumer Reports'. ...[W]hat this Rabbit is really about is no longer running, running out of the social fix, but the decay that is never so much noticed as when you are looking, post coitum homo triste est, at the beloved's flabby buttocks....Death and death and death dominate (in thought) a life outwardly rich....A brilliant book, this, and though a chastening one, what we deserve."
Alfred Kazin, New York Review of Books, 11/19/81
"It is not for nothing that Playboy has serialized parts of this novel, for Updike has never written more, or more lavishly, about sex. The mystery remains, but the insistent brooding has diminished....For me, RABBIT IS RICH is the first book in which Updike has fulfilled the fabulous promise he offered with RABBIT RUN and THE CENTAUR 20 years ago."
Roger Sale, New York Times Book Review, 09/27/1981