Books That Inspire 2011

Rabbit, Run
John Updike

Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, a twentieth century everyman, is the hero of John Updike’s 1960 novel, Rabbit, Run. Rabbit's problem is that he is infected with an American itchiness to run away from uncomfortable situations. In Rabbit, Run he flees after an unpleasant scene with his pregnant wife. Returning home, he is soon playing house with another woman. Never one to stay put, Rabbit eventually jumps back into the nest with his wife following a tragic death. Recounted this way, Rabbit's tale is more soap opera than literature. How on earth could such a book inspire? It is simply this: Rabbit’s story is crafted in a vivid, engaging, present-tense prose that compels one to read aloud. Updike went on to write many other fine novels, including three more prize-winning Rabbit volumes, but this was his first Rabbit book, and it is a breathtaking work of art, every well wrought, glittering word of it.

Jerry Jerman
Director of Development
University Outreach