Rabbit, Run is the book that established John Updike as one of the major American novelists of his—or any other—generation. Its hero is Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom, a onetime high-school basketball star who on an impulse deserts his wife and son. He is twenty-six years old, a man-child caught in a struggle between instinct and thought, self and society, sexual gratification and family duty—even, in a sense, human hard-heartedness and divine Grace. Though his flight from home traces a zigzag of evasion, he holds to the faith that he is on the right path, an invisible line toward his own salvation as straight as a ruler’s edge.
Gaige (The Folded World) revisits the fragility of family life in her newest, based broadly on the Clark Rockefeller child custody kidnapping case. The book written as an apology (in both the Socratic and emotional sense) to the narrator's ex-wife as he awaits trial is quiet and deeply introspective. Erik Schroder was born in East Berlin, but escaped with his father to working-class Boston. Recreating himself as Eric Kennedy, raised in a fictional town by a patrician family, the narrator distances himself from his past to gain entr e into American aristocracy. But his marriage based on lies goes sour, and in the midst of the resultant unfavorable custody arrangement, Eric takes his six-year-old daughter, Meadow, on an unsanctioned road trip through New England, seizing the opportunity to reconnect with her, even as he realizes that this idyllic time is as illusory as his past. Although Eric is often unreliable, Gaige conjures a groundswell of sympathy for an otherwise repugnant character. Tender moments of observation, regret, and joy all conveyed in unself-consciously lyrical prose result in a radiant meditation on identity, memory, and familial love and loss.
Head Trip to a Dark Place
Amazingly well written, but it got into my head, and I became Rabbit Angstrom, and things didn't work out, and might never work out.