Philip Roth

Philip Roth

סופר


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Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth s startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, "are melted into air, into thin air." When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. "Something fundamental has vanished." His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can t persuade him to make a comeback.

Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day s journey into night, told with Roth s inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life s performances talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation are stripped off.

The Humbling is Roth s thirtieth book....

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For the last half century, the novels of Philip Roth have re-energized American fiction and redefined its possibilities. Roth's comic genius, his imaginative daring, his courage in exploring uncomfortable truths, and his assaults on political, cultural, and sexual orthodoxies have made him one of the essential writers of our time. By special arrangement with the author, The Library of America now inaugurates the definitive edition of Roth's collected works. This first volume presents Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories, the book that established Roth's reputation on publication in 1959 and for which he won the National Book Award, and his first novel, Letting Go (1962).

The title novella, Goodbye, Columbus, the story of a summer romance between a poor young man from Newark and a rich Radcliffe co-ed, is both a tightly wrought tale of youthful desire and a satiric gem that takes aim at the comfortable affluence of the postwar boom. Here and in the stories that accompany it, including "The Conversion of the Jews" and "Defender of the Faith," Roth depicts Jewish lives in 1950s America with an unflinching sharpness of observation.

In Letting Go, a sprawling novel set largely against the backdrop of Chicago in the 1950s, Roth portrays the moral dilemmas of young people cast precipitously into adulthood, and in the process describes a skein of social and family responsibilities as they are brought into focus by issues of marriage, abortion, adoption, friendship, and career. The novel's expansiveness provides a wide scope for Roth's gift for vivid characterization, and in his protagonist Gabe Wallach he creates a nuanced portrait of a responsive young academic whose sense of morality draws him into the ordeals of others with unforeseen consequences....

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For the last half century, the novels of Philip Roth have re-energized American fiction and redefined its possibilities. Roth's comic genius, his imaginative daring, his courage in exploring uncomfortable truths, and his assaults on political, cultural, and sexual orthodoxies have made him one of the essential writers of our time. By special arrangement with the author, The Library of America now inaugurates the definitive edition of Roth's collected works. This second volume presents four extraordinarily diverse works displaying the range and originality of his fictional art.

When She Was Good (1967) is the trenchant portrait of Lucy Nelson, a young midwestern woman whose perception of her own suffering turns her into a ferocious force, "enemy-ridden and unforgivingly defiant," as Roth would later describe her. A small-town 1940s America of restrictive social pressures and foreclosed opportunities provides the novel's background.

The publication of the hilarious Portnoy's Complaint (1969) was a cultural event that turned Roth into a reluctant celebrity. The confession of a bewildered psychoanalytic patient thrust through life by his unappeasable sexuality yet held back by the iron grip of his unforgettable childhood, Portnoy unleashed Roth's comic virtuosity and opened new avenues for American fiction.

In Our Gang (1971), described by Anthony Burgess as a "brilliant satire in the real Swift tradition," Roth effects a savage takedown of the administration of Richard Nixon (who figures here as Trick E. Dixon). Written before the revelations of the Watergate scandal, Our Gang continues to resonate as a broad and outraged response to the clownish hypocrisy and moral theatrics of the American political scene.

The Kafkaesque excursion The Breast (1972) introduces David Kepesh in the first volume of a trilogy that continues with The Professor of Desire (1977) and The Dying Animal (2001). The Breast prompted Cynthia Ozick to remark, "One knows when one is reading something that will permanently enter the culture."...

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When the renowned aviation hero and rabid isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh defeated Franklin Roosevelt by a landslide in the 1940 presidential election, fear invaded every Jewish household in America. Not only had Lindbergh, in a nationwide radio address, publicly blamed the Jews for selfishly pushing America toward a pointless war with Nazi Germany, but upon taking office as the thirty-third president of the United States, he negotiated a cordial “understanding” with Adolf Hitler, whose conquest of Europe and virulent anti-Semitic policies he appeared to accept without difficulty. What then followed in America is the historical setting for this startling new book by Pulitzer Prize–winner Philip Roth, who recounts what it was like for his Newark family — and for a million such families all over the country — during the menacing years of the Lindbergh presidency, when American citizens who happened to be Jews had every reason to expect the worst.
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER

In 1951, the second year of the Korean War, a studious, law-abiding, and intense youngster from Newark, New Jersey, Marcus Messner, begins his sophomore year on the pastoral, conservative campus of Ohio's Winesburg College. And why is he there and not at a local college in Newark where he originally enrolled? Because his father, the sturdy, hardworking neighborhood butcher, seems to have gone mad–mad with fear and apprehension of the dangers of adult life, the dangers of the world, the dangers he sees in every corner for his beloved boy. Far from Newark, Marcus has to find his way amid the customs and constrictions of another American world.

Indignation, Philip Roth's twenty-ninth book, is a startling departure from the haunted narratives of old age and experience in Roth’s recent books and a powerful exploration of a remarkable moment in American history....

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This third volume in The Library of America's definitive edition of Philip Roth's collected works presents three markedly different novels that together trace a crucial period in the bold evolution of one of America's indispensable novelists. Surely the funniest novel ever written about baseball, The Great American Novel (1973) turns our national pastime into unfettered picaresque farce. The cast of improbable characters includes: Gil Gamesh, the pitcher who actually tried to kill the umpire; John Baal, the ex-con first baseman, "The Babe Ruth of the Big House," who never hit a home run sober; and the House Un-American Activities Committee. My Life as a Man (1974), Roth's most blistering novel, presents the treacherous world of Strindberg nearly a century later in the story of a fierce marital tragedy of obsession and blindness and desperate need. The Professor of Desire (1977)-the novel that prompted Milan Kundera to proclaim Roth "a great historian of modern eroticism"-follows an adventurous man of intelligence and feeling into and out of the tempting wilderness of erotic possibility....

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For the last half century, the novels of Philip Roth have re-energized American fiction and redefined its possibilities, leading the critic Harold Bloom to proclaim Roth “our foremost novelist since Faulkner.” Roth’s comic genius, his imaginative daring, his courage in exploring uncomfortable truths, and his assault on political, cultural, and sexual orthodoxies have made him one of the essential writers of our time. By special arrangement with the author, The Library of America continues the definitive edition of Roth’s collected works.

This fifth volume of The Library of America’s definitive edition of Philip Roth’s collected works presents four books that exemplify the description of Roth, proposed by British novelist Anthony Burgess, as a writer “who never steps twice into the same river.” The Counterlife (1986) is a novel told from conflicting perspectives about people enacting drastic dreams of renewal and escape. The Facts (1988)—the first of the “Roth Books”—is a novelist’s autobiography in which the author presents his own battles defictionalized and unadorned. In the second Roth book, Deception (1990), a married American named Philip, living in London, and the married Englishwoman who is his mistress meet sporadically in a secret trysting place where the woman eloquently reveals herself to her lover as they talk before and after making love. In the third Roth book, Patrimony (1991), the author watches as his 86-year-old father, Herman Roth, battles a fatal brain tumor....

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Roth's award-winning first book instantly established its author's reputation as a writer of explosive wit, merciless insight, and a fierce compassion for even the most self-deluding of his characters.

Goodbye, Columbus is the story of Neil Klugman and pretty, spirited Brenda Patimkin, he of poor Newark, she of suburban Short Hills, who meet one summer break and dive into an affair that is as much about social class and suspicion as it is about love. The novella is accompanied by five short stories that range in tone from the iconoclastic to the astonishingly tender and that illuminate the subterranean conflicts between parents and children and friends and neighbors in the American Jewish diaspora....

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For the last half century, the novels of Philip Roth have re-energized American fiction and redefined its possibilities, leading the critic Harold Bloom to proclaim Roth "our foremost novelist since Faulkner." Roth's comic genius, his imaginative daring, his courage in exploring uncomfortable truths, and his assault on political, cultural, and sexual orthodoxies have made him one of the essential writers of our time. By special arrangement with the author, The Library of America continues the definitive edition of Roth's collected works.

This fourth volume presents the trilogy and epilogue that constitute Zuckerman Bound (1985), Roth's wholly original investigation into the unforeseen consequences of art-mainly in libertarian America and then, by contrast, in Soviet-suppressed Eastern Europe-during the latter half of the twentieth century. The Ghost Writer (1979) introduces Nathan Zuckerman in the 1950s, a budding writer infatuated with the Great Books, discovering the contradictory claims of literature and experience while an overnight guest in the secluded New England farmhouse of his literary idol, E. I. Lonoff. Zuckerman Unbound (1981) finds him far from Lonoff's domain-the scene is Manhattan as the sensationalizing 1960s are coming to an end. Zuckerman, in his mid-thirties, is suffering the immediate aftershock of literary celebrity. The high-minded protŽgŽ of E. I. Lonoff has become a notorious superstar. The Anatomy Lesson (1984) takes place largely in the hospital isolation ward that Zuckerman has made of his Upper East Side apartment. It is Watergate time, 1973, and to Zuckerman the only other American who seems to be in as much trouble as himself is Richard Nixon. Zuckerman, at forty, is beset with crippling and unexplained physical pain; he wonders if the cause might not be his own inflammatory work. In The Prague Orgy (1985), entries from Zuckerman's notebooks describing his 1976 sojourn among the outcast artists of Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia reveal the major theme of Zuckerman Bound from a new perspective that provides the stinging conclusion to this richly ironic and intricately designed magnum opus. As an added feature, this volume publishes for the first time Roth's unproduced television screenplay for The Prague Orgy, featuring new characters and scenes that do not appear in the novella....

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Letting Go is Philip Roth’s first full-length novel, published just after Goodbye, Columbus, when he was twenty-nine. Set in 1950s Chicago, New York, and Iowa City, Letting Go presents as brilliant a fictional portrait as we have of a mid-century America defined by social and ethical constraints and by moral compulsions conspicuously different from those of today.
Newly discharged from the Korean War army, reeling from his mother’s recent death, freed from old attachments and hungrily seeking others, Gabe Wallach is drawn to Paul Herz, a fellow graduate student in literature, and to Libby, Paul’s moody, intense wife. Gabe’s desire to be connected to the ordered “world of feeling” that he finds in books is first tested vicariously by the anarchy of the Herzes’ struggles with responsible adulthood and then by his own eager love affairs. Driven by the desire to live seriously and act generously, Gabe meets an impassable test in the person of Martha Reganhart, a spirited, outspoken, divorced mother of two, a formidable woman who, according to critic James Atlas, is masterfully portrayed with “depth and resonance.”
The complex liaison between Gabe and Martha and Gabe’s moral enthusiasm for the trials of others are at the heart of this ambitious first novel.

“[Roth] has the finest eye for the details of American life since Sinclair Lewis.” — Stanley Edgar Hyman...

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It is 1951 in America, the second year of the Korean War. A studious, law-abiding, intense youngster from Newark, New Jersey, Marcus Messner, is beginning his sophomore year on the pastoral, conservative campus of Ohio’s Winesburg College. And why is he there and not at a local college in Newark where he originally enrolled? Because his father, the sturdy, hard-working neighborhood butcher, seems to have gone mad – mad with fear and apprehension of the dangers of adult life, the dangers of the world, the dangers he sees in every corner for his beloved boy.

As the long-suffering, desperately harassed mother tells her son, the father’s fear arises from love and pride. Perhaps, but it produces too much anger in Marcus for him to endure living with his parents any longer. He leaves them and, far from Newark, in the midwestern college, has to find his way amid the customs and constrictions of another American world.

Indignation, Philip Roth’s twenty-ninth book, tells the story of the young man’s education in life’s terrifying chances and bizarre obstructions. It is a story of inexperience, foolishness, intellectual resistance, sexual discovery, courage, and error. It is a story told with all the inventive energy and wit Roth has at his command, at once a startling departure from the haunted narratives of old age and experience in his recent books and a powerful addition to his investigations of the impact of American history on the life of the vulnerable individual....

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A famous writer, named Philip, and his mistress meet in a room without a bed. They talk, they play games with each other, they have sex, they tell lies. "Deception", Philip Roth's most poignant and provocative work since Portnoy's "Complaint", explores adultery and the unmasking of illicit lovers in a novel that exposes the tenderness and uncertainty underlying all affairs of the heart....

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Like a latter-day Gregor Samsa, Professor David Kepesh wakes up one morning to find that he has been transformed. But where Kafka’s protagonist turned into a giant beetle, the narrator of Philip Roth’s richly conceived fantasy has become a 155-pound female breast. What follows is a deliriously funny yet touching exploration of the full implications of Kepesh’s metamorphosis—a daring, heretical book that brings us face to face with the intrinsic strangeness of sex and subjectivity.

“The Breast is terrific . . . inventive and sane and very funny. The trick which is the heart of the book is brilliant . . . and rich with meaning.”—John Gardner, The New York Times Book Review

“Hilarious, serious, visionary, logical, sexual-philosophical; the ending amazes—the joke takes three steps beyond savagery and satire and turns into a sublimeness of pity. One knows when one is reading something that will permanently enter the culture.”—Cynthia Ozick
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Nathan Zuckerman returns to New York in the long-awaited final installment of Philip Roth's renowned Zuckerman series.

Alone for eleven years on his New England mountain, Zuckerman has been nothing but a writer: no media, no terrorist threats, no women, no tasks other than his work and the enduring of old age. Walking the streets of New York after so many years away, he quickly makes three connections that explode his carefully protected solitude. Suddenly involved, as he never wanted or intended to be again, with love, mourning, desire, and animosity, Zuckerman plays out an interior drama of vivid and poignant possibilities.

Revisiting the characters from Roth's much-heralded The Ghost Writer, Exit Ghost is an astounding leap into yet another phase in this great writer's oeuvre....

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The interviews, essays, and articles collected here span a quarter century of Philip Roth's distinguished career and "reveal [a] preoccupation with the relationship between the written and the unwritten world." Here is Roth on himself and his work and the controversies it's engendered. Here too are Roth's writings on the Eastern European writers he has always championed; and on baseball, American fiction, and American Jews. The essential collection of nonfiction by a true American master, Reading Myself and Others features his long interview with the Paris Review....

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Like a latter-day Gregor Samsa, Professor David Kepesh wakes up one morning to find that he has been transformed. But where Kafka’s protagonist turned into a giant beetle, the narrator of Philip Roth’s richly conceived fantasy has become a 155-pound female breast. What follows is a deliriously funny yet touching exploration of the full implications of Kepesh’s metamorphosis—a daring, heretical book that brings us face to face with the intrinsic strangeness of sex and subjectivity.

“The Breast is terrific . . . inventive and sane and very funny. The trick which is the heart of the book is brilliant . . . and rich with meaning.”—John Gardner, The New York Times Book Review

“Hilarious, serious, visionary, logical, sexual-philosophical; the ending amazes—the joke takes three steps beyond savagery and satire and turns into a sublimeness of pity. One knows when one is reading something that will permanently enter the culture.”—Cynthia Ozick
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Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth s startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, "are melted into air, into thin air." When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. "Something fundamental has vanished." His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can t persuade him to make a comeback.

Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day s journey into night, told with Roth s inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life s performances talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation are stripped off.

The Humbling is Roth s thirtieth book.

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Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth’s startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, “are melted into air, into thin air.” When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. “Something fundamental has vanished.” His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can’t persuade him to make a comeback.

Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day’s journey into night, told with Roth’s inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life’s performances  —  talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation  — are stripped off.

Following the dark meditations on mortality and endings in Everyman and Exit Ghost, and the bitterly ironic retrospect on youth and chance in Indignation, Roth has written another in his haunting group of late novels....

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Like a latter-day Gregor Samsa, Professor David Kepesh wakes up one morning to find that he has been transformed. But where Kafka’s protagonist turned into a giant beetle, the narrator of Philip Roth’s richly conceived fantasy has become a 155-pound female breast. What follows is a deliriously funny yet touching exploration of the full implications of Kepesh’s metamorphosis—a daring, heretical book that brings us face to face with the intrinsic strangeness of sex and subjectivity.

“The Breast is terrific . . . inventive and sane and very funny. The trick which is the heart of the book is brilliant . . . and rich with meaning.”—John Gardner, The New York Times Book Review

“Hilarious, serious, visionary, logical, sexual-philosophical; the ending amazes—the joke takes three steps beyond savagery and satire and turns into a sublimeness of pity. One knows when one is reading something that will permanently enter the culture.”—Cynthia Ozick
...

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Like a latter-day Gregor Samsa, Professor David Kepesh wakes up one morning to find that he has been transformed. But where Kafka's protagonist turned into a giant beetle, the narrator of Philip Roth's richly conceived fantasy has become a 155-pound female breast. What follows is a deliriously funny yet touching exploration of the full implications of Kepesh's metamorphosis—a daring, heretical book that brings us face to face with the intrinsic strangeness of sex and subjectivity....

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Time Magazine Best American Novel (1993)

In this fiendishly imaginative book (which may or may not be fiction), Philip Roth meets a man who may or may not be Philip Roth. Because someone with that name has been touring Israel, promoting a bizarre reverse exodus of the Jews. Roth is intent on stopping him, even if that means impersonating his own impersonator.

With excruciating suspense, unfettered philosophical speculation, and a cast of characters that includes Israeli intelligence agents, Palestinian exiles, an accused war criminal, and an enticing charter member of an organization called Anti-Semites Anonymous, Operation Shylock barrels across the frontier between fact and fiction, seriousness and high comedy, history and nightmare....

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Letting Go is Roth's first full-length novel, published just after Goodbye, Columbus, when he was twenty-nine. Set in 1950s Chicago, New York, and Iowa city, Letting Go presents as brilliant a fictional portrait as we have of a mid-century America defined by social and ethical constraints and by moral compulsions conspicuously different from those of today.

Newly discharged from the Korean War army, reeling from his mother's recent death, freed from old attachments and hungrily seeking others, Gabe Wallach is drawn to Paul Herz, a fellow graduate student in literature, and to Libby, Paul's moody, intense wife. Gabe's desire to be connected to the ordered "world of feeling" that he finds in books is first tested vicariously by the anarchy of the Herzes' struggles with responsible adulthood and then by his own eager love affairs. Driven by the desire to live seriously and act generously, Gabe meets an impassable test in the person of Martha Reganhart, a spirited, outspoken, divorced mother of two, a formidable woman who, according to critic James Atlas, is masterfully portrayed with "depth and resonance."

The complex liason between Gabe and Martha and Gabe's moral enthusiasm for the trials of others are at the heart of this tragically comic work.


From the Trade Paperback edition....

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER

In 1951, the second year of the Korean War, a studious, law-abiding, and intense youngster from Newark, New Jersey, Marcus Messner, begins his sophomore year on the pastoral, conservative campus of Ohio's Winesburg College. And why is he there and not at a local college in Newark where he originally enrolled? Because his father, the sturdy, hardworking neighborhood butcher, seems to have gone mad–mad with fear and apprehension of the dangers of adult life, the dangers of the world, the dangers he sees in every corner for his beloved boy. Far from Newark, Marcus has to find his way amid the customs and constrictions of another American world.

Indignation, Philip Roth's twenty-ninth book, is a startling departure from the haunted narratives of old age and experience in Roth’s recent books and a powerful exploration of a remarkable moment in American history....

69.
Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth s startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, "are melted into air, into thin air." When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. "Something fundamental has vanished." His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can t persuade him to make a comeback.

Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day s journey into night, told with Roth s inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life s performances talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation are stripped off.

The Humbling is Roth s thirtieth book....

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Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth’s startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, “are melted into air, into thin air.” When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. “Something fundamental has vanished.” His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can’t persuade him to make a comeback.

Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day’s journey into night, told with Roth’s inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life’s performances  —  talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation  — are stripped off.

Following the dark meditations on mortality and endings in Everyman and Exit Ghost, and the bitterly ironic retrospect on youth and chance in Indignation, Roth has written another in his haunting group of late novels....

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Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth’s startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, “are melted into air, into thin air.” When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. “Something fundamental has vanished.” His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can’t persuade him to make a comeback.

Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day’s journey into night, told with Roth’s inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life’s performances  —  talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation  — are stripped off.

Following the dark meditations on mortality and endings in Everyman and Exit Ghost, and the bitterly ironic retrospect on youth and chance in Indignation, Roth has written another in his haunting group of late novels....

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