Friday, March 23, 2007

Updike's Rabbit at Rest

I closed the book on Rabbit at Rest yesterday morning, holding back the tears like Mick Hucknall holding back the years. The book cut me up real bad and bravo to a review written by Martin Amis that I read subsequently, page after page you are acutely aware of your own heart, the odd murmur and strange palpitations, as John Updike opens Rabbit up and describes in astonishing, humourous detail the effect of bacon-wrapped scallops and cakes on Rabbit’s ailing ticker.

The four masterful Rabbit novels represent the four decades in which they were written, interpret that however you want, I can't be bothered, 1,500 pages total and concluding in 1990 where it began, thirty years earlier, on the basketball court, this time the 55 year-old squaring off against a sleek cat named Tiger, the first to 21 in the Florida sun. And to think Rabbit hadn’t even digested his breakfast bear claw…

If I had been in a private setting, and not on a tram concussed by a bevy of crass schoolgirls, I most certainly would have been on the floor howling. But as it was, only a few teardrops fell. It is quite some book. For an opportunity to win my copy of Rabbit at Rest simply tell me in the comments box what was the last book that made me cry and I will send it to you, dog-ears, pear stains (don’t ask) and all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Too right I'd like to win that book. God knows I need a book. At the moment I'm a third the way through, The God Delusion, Ninteen Eighty Four, and The Yarra - A Diverting History. I just can't seem to finish any of them. There's nothing wrong with any of them, in fact you could say at least two of them are wonderful. It's just that I can't seem to finish any of them. Don't know why. I've become lazy, and none are really provoking much emotion. I'd cry at myself long before I'd cry at any of those books. I can't say I've cried over a book for as long I can remember. I'd much sooner cry over a girl, or the death of a cat, thank you very much. You know how it is.
I didn't cry, but felt an oversized sigh escape my yearning mouth the other night as I read again my collection of columns by Kiwi Steve Braunias. He deftly skips thourgh all manner of important topics - tearooms, mangroves, the smell of coal at dusk, winter ('This is winter as it should be. It wants to pick a fight. Heartless, profound, desolate, the loneliest, most harrowing time of year, a stern and resolute authority, sick of living. The kind of winter that sounds the hard, clanging bell, and we all hear it, and we all knows what it means'). More, please. All the more power when he describes Australians as 'social retards'. A bit harsh, yes, but they can hack it.
So I'll have the book, if you don't mind. Whether I get around to reading more than a third of it depends, but I'd say there's a good chance - the library is starting to send those polite letters to me. Oh dear.