Nelson Angstrom works as a mental health counselor in an Adult Day Treatment Center. On Christmas morning he learns that one of his clients, Michael DiLorenzo, has committed suicide in a desperate attempt to flee the voices in his head. Nelson is the son of Rabbit Angstrom, the central character in a series of John Updike novels that began with Rabbit Run (1960) and ended with Rabbit’s death in Rabbit at Rest (1990).
In a long story in Licks of Love, Rabbit is back, alive in the memories of his family, especially his widow, Janice, and Nelson, who has converted his drug addiction into a job as a counselor. This story continues the saga of a man who reached his personal peak as a high school basketball star. Although unlike Rabbit in physical bearing, Nelson is very much his father’s son in his hunger for intimacy, and he is as “sexually haunted” as his father.
There is an 80 percent chance that later in this century a megadrought will plague the American Southwest for decades, according to a study released by researchers at NASA and at Columbia and Cornell universities. The drought will be caused by reduced precipitation and changes in evaporation rates. The researchers say other factors, such as the El Niño weather pattern, could interrupt long periods of severe drought. The researchers say there is time to reduce the factors contributing to climate change (Washington Post, February 12).