Set in a Newark neighborhood during a terrifying polio outbreak, Nemesis is a wrenching examination of the forces of circumstance on our lives.
Bucky Cantor is a vigorous, dutiful twenty-three-year-old playground director during the summer of 1944. A javelin thrower and weightlifter, he is disappointed with himself because his weak eyes have excluded him from serving in the war alongside his contemporaries. As the devastating disease begins to ravage Bucky's playground, Roth leads us through every inch of emotion such a pestilence can breed: fear, panic, anger, bewilderment, suffering, and pain. Moving between the streets of Newark and a pristine summer camp high in the Poconos, Nemesis tenderly and startlingly depicts Cantor's passage into personal disaster, the condition of childhood, and the painful effect that the wartime polio epidemic has on a closely-knit, family-oriented Newark community and its children.
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. This book tells the story of the young man's education in life's terrifying chances and bizarre obstructions.
The groundbreaking novel that propelled its author to literary stardom: told in a continuous monologue from patient to psychoanalyst, Philip Roth's masterpiece draws us into the turbulent mind of one lust-ridden young Jewish bachelor named Alexander Portnoy. Portnoy's Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933- )] A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature. Spielvogel says: 'Acts of exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism, auto-eroticism and oral coitus are plentiful; as a consequence of the patient's "morality," however, neither fantasy nor act issues in genuine sexual gratification, but rather in overriding feelings of shame and the dread of retribution, particularly in the form of castration.' (Spielvogel, O. "The Puzzled Penis," Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse , Vol. XXIV, p. 909.) It is believed by Spielvogel that many of the symptoms can be traced to the bonds obtaining in the mother-child relationship.
When the renowned aviation hero and rabid isolationist Charles A.Lindbergh defeated Franklin Roosevelt by a landslide inthe1940 presidential election, fear invaded every Jewish household in America.Not only had Lindbergh publicly blamed the Jews for pushing America towards a pointless war with Nazi Germany, but, upon taking office as the 33rd president of the United States, he negotiated a cordial 'understanding' with Adolf Hitler. What then followed in America is thehistorical setting for this startling new novel by Pulitzer-prize winner Philip Roth, who recounts what it was like for his Newark family during the menacing years of the Lindbergh presidency, when American citizens who happened to be Jews had every reason to expect the worst.
I Married a Communist is the story of the rise and fall of Ira Ringold, a big American roughneck who begins life as a teenage ditch-digger in 1930s Newark, becomes a big-time 1940s radio star, and is destroyed, as both a performer and a man, in the McCarthy witchhunt of the 1950s. In his heyday as a star--and as a zealous, bullying supporter of "progressive" political causes--Ira marries Hollywood's beloved silent-film star, Eve Frame. Their glamorous honeymoon in her Manhattan townhouse is shortlived, however, and it is the publication of Eve's scandalous bestselling expose that identifies him as "an American taking his orders from Moscow." In this story of cruelty, betrayal, and revenge spilling over into the public arena from their origins in Ira's turbulent personal life, Philip Roth--who Commonweal calls the "master chronicler of the American twentieth century--has written a brilliant fictional protrayal of that treacherous postwar epoch when the anti-Communist fever not only infected national politics but traumatized the intimate, innermost lives of friends and families, husbands and wives, parents and children.
Sabbath's Theater is a comic creation of epic proportions, and Mickey Sabbath is its gargantuan hero. Once a scandalously inventive puppeteer, Sabbath at sixty-four is still defiantly antagonistic and exceedingly libidinous. But after the death of his long-time mistress--an erotic free spirit whose adulterous daring surpassed even his own--Sabbath embarks on a turbulent journey into his past. Bereft and grieving, besieged by the ghosts of those who loved and hated him most, he contrives a succession of farcical disasters that take him to the brink of madness and extinction.
Nathan Zuckerman comes back to New York, the city he left eleven years before. Alone on his New England mountain, Zuckerman has been nothing but a writer: no media, no terrorist threats, no women, no news, no tasks other than his work and the enduring of old age. Walking the streets, he quickly makes three connections that explode his solitude.
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.
Everything is over for Simon Axler. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent and his assurance. When he goes on stage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can't persuade him to make a comeback. In this long day's journey into night, told with Roth's inimitable urgency, bravura and gravity, all our life's performances - talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation - are stripped bare.
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.
A fiction-within-a-fiction, a labyrinthine edifice of funny, mournful, and harrowing meditations on the fatal impasse between a man and a woman, My Life as a Man is Roth's most blistering novel. At its heart lies the marriage of Peter and Maureen Tarnopol, a gifted young writer and the woman who wants to be his muse but who instead is his nemesis. Their union is based on fraud and shored up by moral blackmail, but it is so perversely durable that, long after Maureen's death, Peter is still trying--and failing--to write his way free of it. Out of desperate inventions and cauterizing truths, acts of weakness, tenderheartedness, and shocking cruelty, Philip Roth creates a work worthy of Strindberg--a fierce tragedy of sexual need and blindness.
Patrimony , a true story, touches the emotions as strongly as anything Philip Roth has ever written. Roth watches as his eighty-six-year-old father--famous for his vigor, charm, and his repertoire of Newark recollections--battles with the brain tumor that will kill him. The son, full of love, anxiety, and dread, accompanies his father through each fearful stage of his final ordeal, and, as he does so, discloses the survivalist tenacity that has distinguished his father's long, stubborn engagement with life.
A college professor with a sexual indiscretion in his past is hounded from his job by academic enemies who label him a racist.
In Philip Roth's intimate intellectual encounters with an international and diverse cast of writers, they explore the importance of region, politics, and history in their work and trace the imaginative path by which a writer's highly individualised art is informed by the wider conditions of life. Milan Kundera and Czechoslovakia, Primo Levi and Auschwitz, Edna O'Brien and Ireland, Aharon Appelfeld and Bukovina, Ivan Kl-ma and Prague, Isaac Singer and Warsaw, Bruno Schulz and Poland - what is the intricate transaction between the susceptible writer and the provocative time and place? Roth's questions go to the original conditions that stimulate the narrative impulse, and he puts them to writers who are as attuned to the subtleties of literature as to the influence of the surrounding society. Also included here are appreciative portraits of two of Roth's late friends, each transfixed till the end by his artistic vocation - the writer Bernard Malamud and the painter Philip Guston - as well as several cartoons drawn by Guston, a gift to Roth to illustrate his novella The Breast and printed here for the first time. Shop Talk concludes with Roth's essay 'Rereading Saul Bellow', a vivid presentation of Bellow's achievement and, in the spirit of this collection, very much a colleague's reading.