Magazine February 23, 2009, Issue

Rabbit’s Great Run

Boys play at a basketball court at the “Pinto Salinas” neighborhood before a hip-hop performance in Caracas April 21, 2006. (Reuters)

My Updike kick started 30 years ago, with an old paperback, bought from a used bookseller, of Rabbit, Run (1960), his first novel about Harry Angstrom.

What hooked me was the third sentence. The hero, 26 years old, is coming home from his job demonstrating kitchen utensils in a department store, when he stops to watch some boys playing basketball. “The scrape and snap of Keds on loose alley pebbles seems to catapult their voices high into the moist March air blue above the wires.” Harry had been a star once: “In his junior year he set a B-league scoring record

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