Who is John Updike?

Read about his death in the papers, and his Rabbit novels from Amazon.  Have thought they were like ‘Watership Down’ kind of novels, with real rabbits as characters, but it seems to be someone with a Rabbit nickname.  Never read his books or heard of him before, saw some of his novels displayed on racks at the Borders entrance, most are hard covers – like the Rabbit series, The Widows of Eastwick, The Witches of Eastwick, and a book on poems.  I was actually searching for a title I really wanted to read so as to make good use of my end-of-the-month-expiring book voucher.  In the end I got myself ‘Confessions of a Yakuza” from my wishlist.

What kind of a writer was he?  His settings about postcolonial Africa, WWII, postwar, idealistic careers and early marriages seemed to be very similar with Doris Lessing’s subjects, as well as E. M. Forster’s – not easy to digest kind of reads.  Any good recommendations?