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Rabbit at Rest

John Updike

Top 10 Best Quotes

“We are each of us like our little blue planet, hung in black space, upheld by nothing but our mutual reassurances, our loving lies.”

“Driving is boring," Rabbit pontificates, "but it's what we do. Most of American life is driving somewhere and then driving back wondering why the hell you went.”

“Standing amid the tan, excited post-Christmas crowd at the Southwest Florida Regional Airport, Rabbit Angstrom has a funny sudden feeling that what he has come to meet, what's floating in unseen about to land, is not his son Nelson and daughter-in-law Pru and their two children but something more ominous and intimately his: his own death, shaped vaguely like an airplane.”

“You are still you. The U.S. is still the U.S., held together by credit cards and Indian names”

“TV families and your own are hard to tell apart, except your isn't interrupted every six minutes by commercials and theirs don't get bogged down into nothingness, a state where nothing happens, no skit, no zany visitors, no outburst on the laugh track, nothing at all but boredom and a lost feeling, especially when you get up in the morning and the moon is still shining and men are making noisy bets on the first tee.”

“That's the genius of the capitalist system: Either you're rich, or you want to be, or you think you ought to be.”

“Harry has heard this before. Thelma's voice is dutiful and deliberately calm, issuing small family talk when both know that what she wants to discuss is her old issue, that flared up a minute ago, of whether he loves her or not, or why at least he doesn't need her as much as she does him. But their relationship at the start was established with her in pursuit of him, and all the years since, of hidden meetings, of wise decisions to end it and thrilling abject collapses back into sex, have not disrupted the fundamental pattern of her giving and his taking, of her fearing their end more than he, and clinging, and disliking herself for clinging, and wanting to punish him for her dislike, and him shrugging and continuing to bask in the sun of her love, that rises every day whether he is there or not. He can't believe it, quite, and has to keep testing her.”

“Tall as he is, there is no carrying the slope under his shirt as anything other than a loose gut, a paunch that in itself must weigh as much as a starving Ethiopian child.”

“Rabbit realised the world was not solid and benign, it was a shabby set of temporary arrangements rigged up for the time being, all for the sake of money. You just passed through, and they milked you for what you were worth, mostly when you were young and gullible.”

“Inside, upstairs, where the planes are met, the spaces are long and low and lined in tasteful felt gray like that cocky stewardess's cap and filled with the kind of music you become aware of only when the elevator stops or when the dentist stops drilling. Plucked strings, no vocals, music that's used to being ignored, a kind of carpet in the air, to cover up a silence that might remind you of death.”

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Book Keywords:

family, airport, disparity, middle-age, love, disdain, golf, fat, foreshadowing, comedy, 1990, rabbit-angstrom, american-life, music, television, boredom, sitcom, memento-mori, driving

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