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The Prague Orgy (Zuckerman Bound)

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  1,240 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
In search of the unpublished manuscript of a martyred Yiddish writer, American novelist Nathan Zuckerman travels to Soviet-occupied Prague in the mid-1970s. There, in a nation straightjacketed by totalitarian Communism, he discovers a literary predicament marked by an institutionalised oppression that is rather different from his own. He also discovers, among the subjugate ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published October 5th 1995 by Vintage (first published 1985)
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Cymru Roberts
During college I lived in Prague for eight months, so I consider myself a god-damned expert on Czech culture. I’ve seen first-hand the grandmothers at the metro telling others (thankfully not me) to go fuck their mothers, I’ve been turned down with a flat out “zavreno” when trying to enter a shop that was obviously open. The Czechs are a dark people. My teachers said it was a legacy of communism and the constant surveillance and spying on friends and exile and threat or fact of being sent to Sib ...more
فهد الفهد
Aug 24, 2014 فهد الفهد rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-america
The Prague Orgy

رواية صغيرة التقطتها من مكتبة غائرة في زقاق خلفي، يمتد متعرجاً وراء متحف فرانز كافكا في العاصمة التشيكية براغ، كنت قد خرجت من المتحف مخيباً من أن المحل الملحق به لا يحتوي على أعمال كافكا الكاملة كما يجب، فلذا ولجت المكتبة باحثاً عن قصة (مستعمرة العقاب) والتي لم تترجم للعربية، فلذا لم اقرأها قبل الرحلة، وجذبني لها النموذج المرعب لآلة العقاب الذي وضع في المتحف، وجدت مجلداً لكافكا يحتوي على قصصه القصيرة الكاملة – من ضمنها مستعمرة العقاب – من طباعة دار فانتاج، ووجدت هذه الرواية القصي
Dec 19, 2015 Giovanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Degno epilogo alla serie di libri su Zuckerman, l'Orgia di Praga tira le fila di molti temi “zuckermaniani”, primo fra tutti quello del rapporto con la figura paterna, che nei tre libri precedenti era rimasto irrisolto; qui il nostro Nathan cerca di recuperare, andando a Praga per portare in salvo il manoscritto del padre di uno scrittore ceco esule in America, Sisovsky. Certo, si tratta del padre di Sisovsky e non del suo, è un manoscritto in yiddish che Zuckerman non è neanche in grado di legg ...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Regular readers know that I'm in the process of getting through Philip Roth's remarkable nine-book autobiographical "Nathan Zuckerman" series, a slew of novels written from the 1970s through early 2000s that essentially record the entire history of the Postmodernist Era, by looking very pointedly at Roth's
Jun 30, 2009 R. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
Trivial note: In the history of cinema, Philip Roth's double-goer, Nathan Zuckerman, has been portrayed by just two men. These men are the noted thespians Gary Sinise and...Mark Linn-Baker. Which means - must mean - that in some way Roth is a bit Lt. Dan, a bit Cousin Larry. The Zuckerman of this novella (in the Library of America edition of Zuckerman Bound, The Prague Orgy is a little over 50 pages) is more Sinise. Sinise, the smooth operator. Zuckerman is out doing a bit of literary spywork, f ...more
Ned Mozier
Sep 18, 2016 Ned Mozier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, this was one little gem of a dark, poignant nightmare. Roth’s story is laced with his personal diatribes which add color and poignancy to this romp through Prague. The third in the Zuckerman sagas, the acclaimed and shockingly successful Jewish author visits the otherworldly Prague in 1976 ostensibly to retrieve a recently americanized half-jew’s long lost stories from his father. He meets a society of paranoid misfits and sexual deviants who coerce and cajole through a long night of surve ...more
Jennifer Ciotta
Aug 18, 2010 Jennifer Ciotta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great snippet of Soviet Eastern Europe by Roth. Some parts were insanely funny. Roth is the master of disfunction and great one liners!
Apr 26, 2009 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This epilogue of the Zuckerman Bound trilogy provides an interesting bridge towards the great Zuckerman books, where Zuckerman begins to be an observer and commentor of others. In this, Zuckerman is enticed into going to Prague to free a sheaf of manuscripts of what may be groundbreaking Yiddish literature, works that are being held captive by an exile Czech writer's estranged wife. This short book is a whirlwind of exotic and extreme characters, the type that Roth is a fine constructor of, but ...more
Billy O'Callaghan
A slight but genuinely wonderful addition to the Nathan Zuckerman series, which sees the celebrated novelist journeying to mid-70s Communist Prague, and plunging himself to the city's sordid depths, in an effort to track down an unpublished manuscript of short stories by an unknown but apparently ingenious Yiddish writer.
This is a world of tragic artists, numbed by the intensity of their oppressors and pushing hard at every boundary in an effort to feel. Rooms are bugged, traitors lurk in the wi
Oct 01, 2013 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I’ve been working my way through Roth’s novellas I ended up jumping from the first of the Zuckerman books to this, the last, although to be fair it can easily be read as a standalone book without knowing anything of Zuckerman’s history. A number of reviewers have objected to the book’s length (a mere 86 pages). I’ve no problems here at all. It was as long as it needed to be. Anything else would’ve felt like padding. So, labels aside, it was a complete, although admittedly slight, story.

Jul 06, 2009 F.R. rated it liked it
Much like my re-reading of The Trial, my second look at this book was prompted by my recent visit to Prague. And from that point of view, it does make an interesting comparison between then and now. The city today is almost unrecognisable from the one Roth describes, with its fear and its secret service and surveillance bugs everywhere. Now it’s a thriving Western capital, with big supermarkets, coca-cola and mass advertising for the latest American film (when I was there, Terminator Salvation). ...more
The Prague Orgy reminded me a lot of a certain aspect of Mad Men. Even though Mad Men is a drama, when it wants to be, it can be the funniest show on television. The Prague Orgy strikes me as Roth's showing he can do whatever the hell he wants with a book. It was like he was board with the introspective critiques of American culture, so he wrote an 86 page throw away satire that was better than what most authors would ever hope to write.

Worth reading if you find it used, are a Roth completist, o
Did not particularly get into this one as readily as the other Zuckerman books, but the last two thirds changed things dramatically and propelled me to the finish. This is the book that Kundera wishes he could write.

All of the ones in the Zuckerman Unbound volume are way different and more involved than I first expected. I expected some hardcord salacious stuff and that is the theme but its not necessarily the content. The content is more, the effects of that or the impression of that. Very fasc
Sep 25, 2008 Aaron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Until last year’s “Exit Ghosts,” “Orgy” was far and away the weakest Zuckerman book (you are off the hook “Deception,” “Facts,” and “My Life as Man”). In its own way, it does not fit in with “Bound,” but instead is a fictional pairing to the interview collection “Shoptalk,” a world tour of writers oppressed by their society, and an American still too self centered to notice what it means to be oppressed.
Adam Dalva
It's a good idea, but too lean. Has a couple of good sequences and some interesting thoughts on writing, but the rest was sort of like overly sexualized, fairly bad Le Carre. Almost a 3. Neutral thoughts.
Jake Danishevsky
Here is another interesting and entertaining satire in Zuckerman Bound series. Nathan finds himself in Prague due to certain circumstances. Here in the last of the Zuckerman Bound series, we have the night life, the people, the pro and against the current regime characters and Nathan Zuckerman in Prague behind the Iron Curtain of Soviet supervision. Even though entertaining and meant as a humorous fiction, for someone like me, who has experienced the life behind the Iron Curtain of Soviet Union, ...more
R Arnaud
To me, this is a Kundera novel empowered by the writing skills of Philip Roth... The genre strays substantially from the new realism that Roth had so far perfected, and for this reason I was disappointed.
Sep 03, 2010 Σς rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novella
"No, there's nothing that can't be done to a book, no cause in which even the most innocent of all books cannot be enlisted, not only by them but by you and me." (p. 759)

"No, one's story isn't a skin to be shed--it's inescapable, one's body and blood. You go on pumping it out till you die, the story veined with the themes of your life, the ever-recurring story that's at once your invention and the invention of you." (p. 782 of ZB)

A remarkable little novella of Zuckerman's journey to Prague ["a
Sep 14, 2013 Gabriel rated it liked it
¿Qué puede hacer un escritor que no puede escribir porque los poderes del estado en el que vive no se lo permiten? Nathan Zuckerman visita Praga en busca de los manuscritos de un escritor yiddish asesinado por los nazis. Para conseguirlos tiene que seducir a una libertina escritora cuyo marido le ha informado a Zuckerman de la existencia de los escritos de su padre que ella tiene en su poder pero que jamás le daría a él mismo. En Praga Zuckerman es testigo de la depravación y la indolencia en la ...more
Jun 01, 2015 Martin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I almost skipped this after my exasperation at "The Anatomy Lesson", but I figured that because it is so short, it would be succinct and not outstay its welcome. I loved it, and I think it is the perfect capper to the "Zuckerman Bound" trilogy, a nice little ditty that brings together some of "Bound"'s themes one last time and gives them a little twist.
First, I loved that the actress's crime was not for playing Jewesses in Chekov or Shakespeare, but for playing Anne Frank for so long and so con
Shahzoda Nazarova
در راه برگشت از پراگ رمان بسیار کوتاهی از فیلیپ راث خریدم با عنوان «همخوابگی گروهی پراگ« فقط به خاطر این که عنوان عجیبی داشت و بیش از هشتاد صفحه نبود و هم اینکه این محبورم تمام کتاب های این نویسنده را برای کلاس های آنلاینم بخوانم.
بسیار گیرا بود و در واقع با این که از رویداد های سیاسی ده شصت پراگ می نویسد اما شباهت های بسیاری با امروز کشور های سابق برادر شوروی داشت.
ترس این که نکند خواب باشم و هنوز شوروی فرو نپاشیده باشد دو روز است که با من است.
ترس از این که نکند هنوز غرق آن بازی های کودکانه خود
Jan 31, 2010 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
86 pages and read in one sitting, billed as an epilogue to the first trilogy of the Zuckerman saga, I thought it was a nice little coda to where we left Nathan in The Anatomy Lesson, "shackled" to his "corpus" (his body in pain; his soul ridden with guilt; his profession as a writer; his search of "his story" and the empathy of people, in general and that of his characters), providing a bit of closure for him as well as for us, as he concludes his search for the lost manuscripts of a Jewish writ ...more
L’orgia di Praga è il penultimo episodio della vita dell'alter ego di Philip Roth, Nathan Zuckerman. Purtroppo ho letto l'orgia di Praga prima degli episodi precedenti (Lo scrittore fantasma, Zuckerman scatenato, La lezione di anatomia) e credo che questo abbia fatto perdere un po' di significato alla storia.

Il libro inizia con l'incontro tra Zuckerman e uno scrittore ceco esule, Zdenek Sisovsky, che lo prega di andare a Praga per recuperare un manoscritto yiddish il cui autore è il padre dello
Feb 10, 2015 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In what is considered the coda of the Zuckerman books, the obvious comparison is Kafka. Our hero is on a mission to recover the manuscript of an exiled Czech friend's deceased father. His navigation through the inner circles of Czech intelligentsia is fraught with dead ends, suspicion and miscommunication. Yet in spite of this air of confusion the reader still hears clearly the tolling of the bell that sits atop Roth castle; the themes of leaving one's native environment, misalliance to family h ...more
Jan 11, 2012 Josh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book pretty effectively walks the line between wild romp and social protest piece. I'm not so sure Roth makes a definite point with this story of the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia, but then as goes the political history of, well, anywhere, I'm a bit of a tard. Thus the point may have been lost on me. We all know censorship and totalitarianism are bad; Roth basically leaves it at that. But it's very fun and incorporates his brand of filthy, filthy, depraved sex. The Olga character is o ...more
Nov 21, 2008 julieta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-americans
When I read, "ones story isnt a skin to be shed- its inescapable, ones body and blood. You go on pumping it out till you die, the story veined with the themes of your life, the ever-recurring story thats at once your invention and the invention of you", I thought, oh, duh, I get it, thats what this is about. Roths theme es being jewish, and being a writer. I know, pretty obvious, but I like the way he says it. And I have to say I like what he does with these themes. The contrast in this book is ...more
A coda novella to the Zuckerman trilogy (joining those 3 works in the fourth volume of the Library of America edition--there's also a unproduced teleplay of the novella in the volume, but as compulsive as I am [see my review of The Facts], I didn't feel compelled to read a second version of the same story, particularly a version meant to be acted, not read), a sort of travel adventure story that now seems a formal precursor to the book I just finished, Operation Shylock.
Mike Polizzi
Interesting when placed in contrast to the other Zuckerman books, otherwise fairly thin. Page 62 was the stand out for me, the process by which Zuckerman relates Prague to the used city all of those collected pennies for Israel intended to buy felt genuine. The rest of the book feels rushed, the characters read as cartoons, even the premise of the novel being a journal is only passable. Thinking through the condition of mitteleurope under Soviet rule does give great moments for essay and aside a ...more
Aug 21, 2008 Amelia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this short novel in one night, and I loved it. An exploration of what it means to be a writer, and why one endeavors to write, in troubled and controlling times, I found it interesting and funny in a very dry way. This is the first I've read of Roth and it definitely makes me want to read more.

Another reason I found this interesting is that, in Roth's writing, I can see how his style influenced other modern Jewish authors like Chabon, Foer, and many others.
May 23, 2007 Rosie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novella. A very entertaining rush of an American author's 48-hour visit to occupied Prague in the 70s. It's full of sex and profanity and lonely people trying to figure out what art is and why they make it and what it does. It's the first roth i've read and i just want to read more now. it's a fun afternoon (or 2 afternoons) read for the summer, i'd imagine very enjoyable for someone who's more familiar with his works.
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Philip Milton Roth is an American novelist. He gained early literary fame with the 1959 collection Goodbye, Columbus (winner of 1960's National Book Award), cemented it with his 1969 bestseller Portnoy's Complaint, and has continued to write critically-acclaimed works, many of which feature his fictional alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman. The Zuckerman novels began with The Ghost Writer in 1979, and inc ...more
More about Philip Roth...

Other Books in the Series

Zuckerman Bound (4 books)
  • The Ghost Writer
  • Zuckerman Unbound
  • The Anatomy Lesson (Vintage International)

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