First edition cover
|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover and Paperback)|
|LC Classification||PZ4.U64 Raap 1971 PS3571.P4|
|Preceded by||Rabbit, Run|
|Followed by||Rabbit is Rich|
Rabbit Redux is a 1971 novel by John Updike. It is the second book in his "Rabbit" series, beginning with Rabbit, Run and followed by Rabbit Is Rich, Rabbit At Rest, and the related 2001 novella, Rabbit Remembered.
Rabbit Redux finds the former high-school basketball star, Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom, working a dead-end job (as a Linotype operator at the local printing plant) and approaching middle age in the downtrodden and fictional city of Brewer, Pennsylvania, the place of his birth. When his wife leaves him for another man, Harry and his thirteen-year-old son are at a loss, and the chaotic state of the nation circa 1969 finds its way into Harry's home.
Updike's recurring themes of guilt, sex, and death are joined in Redux by racism when Harry plays host to an African-American named Skeeter, a cynical, drug-dealing Vietnam vet who engages Harry in debates about the war and race relations. Jill, a wealthy white teenager fleeing suburban Connecticut, enthralls both Harry and his son, and the four of them make a scandalous household emblematic of the Summer of Love's most confusing implications, culminating in a house fire that kills Jill. Harry and his wife are reconciled at book's end.
Redux means "brought back, restored" (from the Latin reducere – bring back). Other works of literature using the same word in the title include John Dryden's Astraea Redux (1662), "a poem on the happy restoration and return of His Sacred Majesty" and Anthony Trollope's Phineas Redux (1873).
The book led to an increase in popularity of the word redux. In Rabbit at Rest, Rabbit notices:
Updike himself pronounced the word "ray-dooks."
- Oxford English Dictionary entry for "redux".
- Rabbit at Rest, p. 50
- Updike, John. "A 'Special Message' to purchasers of the Franklin Library limited edition, in 1981, of Rabbit Redux." Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1983. 858–859.
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