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The Facts

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  655 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
The Facts is an unconventional autobiography. Roth concentrates on five episodes from his life: his secure city childhood in the 1930s and '40s; his education in American life at a conventional college; his passionate entanglement, as an ambitious young man, with the angriest person he ever met (the "girl of my dreams" Roth calls her); his clash, as a fledgling writer, ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 28th 1997 by Vintage (first published 1988)
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(showing 1-30)
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Glenn Sumi
Feb 18, 2016 Glenn Sumi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Up until the final chapter, I was all set to give 3 stars to this book of autobiographical essays by novelist Philip Roth, which he wrote, as he tells us in the introduction, after he suffered a “crack-up” in 1987 and was contemplating the mortality of his then 80-something father.

In lucid, graceful prose, Roth writes about: anti-Semitism in his childhood New Jersey neighbourhood; finding the right college and fraternity, which may have affected his choice of career (he set out wanting to become
...more
Stand By Me
In che razza di storie la gente trasforma la vita, in che razza di vite la gente trasforma le storie.

Durante la lettura di un'autobiografia del genere la domanda più congrua -e allo stesso tempo più presumibile- che ci si può porre riguarda la presenza (e allo stesso tempo assenza) di un'effettiva concretezza nei fatti narrati dall'autore.

Ma questo non è un libro a richiesta: nessuno lo ha commissionato, nessuno ha mai richiesto un'autobiografia di Roth. Semmai una tale richiesta era stata for
...more
Simona
Nov 13, 2013 Simona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Attraverso una lettera indirizzata a Nathan Zuckerman, il suo alter ego, ma anche il protagonista di alcuni suoi romanzi, Roth scrive la sua autobiografia. Una autobiografia diversa, atipica che si snoda su cinque punti, che sono la tematica portante della sua vita da romanziere, ma soprattutto la sua vita di uomo.
In un percorso che va dal rapporto con i genitori, un rapporto molto dolce, ma anche troppo protettivo che l'hanno tenuto in una campana di vetro, ai primi successi, all'università si
...more
Luís Paz da silva
Comprei este livro para levar para as férias que hoje acabaram. Li-o em 2 dias. É uma auto-biografia do Philip Roth, engenhosamente construída: começa com uma carta aberta do Autor dirigida a um dos seus principais personagens (o seu alter-ego Nathan Zuckerman), anunciando a remessa do manuscrito da sua auto-biografia e pedindo opinião quanto à bondade da sua publicação. Termina com a resposta de Zuckerman. Entre estes dois momentos, há uma biografia a cinco tempos. E funciona, porque Roth ...more
Montse
Jun 15, 2016 Montse rated it it was amazing
Brutal! No es una simple autobiografía, no, es autobiografía y autoficción
Mariano Hortal
La necesidad de una lectura cronológica se puede aplicar igualmente a este libro, engañoso como pocos; escrito justo después de todas la novelas de Zuckerman (hasta La contravida) sin embargo no suele incluirse en las novelas de este personaje de ficción y es un error más que tiene que ver con el juego de confusión de la identidad que nos propone el escritor norteamericano. Esta obra pasa por una autobiografía poco convencional donde se relatan unos hechos como si fueran reales y relativos a la ...more
Asma
Jul 11, 2011 Asma rated it really liked it
Some might claim that 'Dear Roth' is the most interesting chapter in this "autobiography"; for me, it's that surprising chapter (letter), 'Girl of My Dreams', a glitch in his life, his first marriage, after otherwise steady achievement. Josephine (Josie) Jensen, the fake name of the scheming, low-class gentile who turned his life to emotional hell and even threatened it, reminded me of a movie star's exposé of her/his awful childhood. Poor, Roth; with all these sordid 'facts', no wonder he ...more
§--
Jan 13, 2014 §-- rated it liked it
An autobiographical writer's only straight autobiography, written when he was 55. And there is very little here: about five scenes, as it were, each of different periods in his life ("Safe at Home" (boyhood obsession with baseball in Weequahic), college at Bucknell, "Girl of My Dreams" (Chicago years, the woman who became his first wife), "All in the Family" (Defending himself against Jewish community attacks on his writing at Yeshiva University),
and "Now Vee May Perhaps to Begin" (His divorce
...more
James
Oct 22, 2012 James rated it really liked it
William Burroughs referred to Paul Bowles autobiography, "Without Stopping", as "Without Telling". I was reminded of that while reading "The Facts". It isn't that Roth doesn't tell us the truth, whatever that might be, it's simply that he doesn't tell us anything that those of us who have read everything else didn't already know.

Having said that, his family is removed a few steps from the representations in the Zuckerman novels--meaningfully so--and the entire narrative resonates profoundly in i
...more
Maria
Mar 29, 2013 Maria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nella sua parte prettamente autobiografica, è un libro ricco di spunti interessanti.
Un vero e proprio manuale di istruzione al Roth-pensiero.
Il mestiere del romanziere presuppone un grande lavoro di fantasia; lo sforzo principale consiste soprattutto nel corredare di fronzoli immaginari un fatto realmente accaduto.
Roth decide di fare il lavoro inverso, ossia di condurre la sua autobiografia disimmaginandosi.
Depurando il suo passato, spogliando la realtà dall’immaginazione, provando a raggiungere
...more
Kat Davis
I actually fell asleep reading this book at my desk, lost half an hour of my afternoon redeemed only by the fact my Roth induced nap involved a mildly erotic dream, woke up with a dead right arm from where I had slumped over the edge of my desk, and discovered drool running from the corner of my mouth. I'm not even sure why I picked the thing up to read in the first place, it was a completely random act. Aside from the final section I had to force myself through the pages.
Michael
Nov 06, 2009 Michael rated it liked it
Only Roth would write an autobiography in which his fictional alter-ego chastises him for not being fully introspective and honest, a meta-trick fully acknowledged and in turn criticized: " . . . the book is fundamentally defensive. Just as having this letter at the end is a self-defensive trick to have it both ways." Either brilliant or exasperating or both.
Simone Subliminalpop
Roth Vs Zuckerman.
Né vincitori, né vinti.

(propedeutica la lettura de "La controvita")

"Per me, come per quasi tutti i romanzieri, ogni avventura dell'immaginazione comincia laggiù, con i fatti, con lo specifico, e non col filosofico, l'ideologico o l'astratto".
Eric Uribares
Jan 12, 2016 Eric Uribares rated it liked it
Una autobiografía entretenida. Aunque me hubiese gustado que fuera más enfocada a su literatura.
Lucas Vargas Sierra
Nov 25, 2016 Lucas Vargas Sierra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lectores entusiastas
Dice Rubem Fonseca, en alguna de sus novelas cortas (creo que Diario de un Libertino), algo así como que no hay nada peor que conocer a tu escritor favorito, porque aquel admirable creador de ficciones resulta, cara a cara, tan aburrido como el vecino más anodino de la cuadra. En ese sentido, quizás no fuese la mejor de las decisiones comenzar a acercarme a Philip Roth leyendo Los hechos, obra autobiográfica a través de la cuál no puede desplegar (esto es, claro, una suposición) su verdadero cal ...more
Albert Kadmon
Dec 08, 2016 Albert Kadmon rated it really liked it
Imprescindible para quien quiera comprender a Roth (y sus primeras novelas, especialmente Mi Vida como hombre, Cuando ella era buena, El lamento de Portnoy y Deudas y Dolores).
Por otro lado, él es perfectamente consciente del fiasco de una autobiografía así como narración -no hay tensión alguna- y decide salvar el libro con un exabrupto final de Zuckerman que resulta la más bella sección del libro y la mejor lección de literatura:
"Bien, pues, según se desprende de lo que acabo de leer, me atrev
...more
Eddy
Oct 24, 2016 Eddy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A construcao do livro com seu capitulo final demonstra o final de uma etapa e prenuncia uma nova fase na producao de Roth que o transforma no grande autor de nossa epoca
Miles
Jun 23, 2013 Miles rated it it was amazing
Should you care about the life story of novelist Phillip Roth? I've read a few of his books (Goodbye Columbus and Portnoy's Complaint were my long ago introductions, and Everyman is my all time favorite) and I've enjoyed listening to him in interviews. I found this book worth reading because it is so redolent of, and parallel to, my father's Bronx immigrant Jewish world, and my father's experience of coming out of that world into the larger American world.

Like my father, Roth married a troubled
...more
Olivier Vojetta
Feb 11, 2015 Olivier Vojetta rated it really liked it
—BUS RIDING BOOKS—
"The Facts, a novelist autobiography", by Philip Roth
Here is my review of the book…

In his autobiography, Philip Roth is looking at the wounds that plagued him for decades, yet were kept at a distance. The same troubles that led him to a grave depression after he decided to open himself up by writing these pages. For him, like for so many other writers before him, this self-investigation is like a second chance. That's the beauty of being a writer I suppose: Roth can fictionali
...more
Pablo Paz
Feb 07, 2012 Pablo Paz rated it it was ok
Confieso que esta es la primera vez que leo la autobiografía de un autor completamente desconocido para mi… bueno en realidad el nombre de Phillip Roth ya lo había oído antes pues estaba al tanto de su fama de perpetuo candidato al premio Nóbel y en alguna ocasión leí muy buenas criticas sobre su Trilogía Americana pero solamente hasta ahí llegaba lo que conocía sobre este autor.

Tal vez leer su autobiografía no sea la manera más indicada de abordar la obra de Phillip Roth, pienso esto por dos
...more
Guillermo Macbeth
Aug 01, 2016 Guillermo Macbeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un libro genial. Así como las novelas de Philip Roth incluyen episodios autobiográficos transformados en ficción, esta supuesta autobiografía que llama Los Hechos es una ficción que incluye algunos elementos posiblemente verídicos. En cualquier caso, aún los episodios narrados con pretensión de verdad resultan ficcionales, premeditadamente ficcionales. Roth tiene mucha autoconciencia de los recursos extraordinarios de la narrativa contemporánea y los emplea con lucidez. Este libro no trata sobre ...more
Barron Lerner
Nov 26, 2013 Barron Lerner rated it it was amazing
It is a given these days to treat the "facts" contained within autobiographies with a grain of salt. In the past, authors quietly manipulated events to tell a specific story with the hope that reviewers did not notice. Today, blending fiction and fact is all the rage. Whereas some autobiographers (James Frey, for example) get into trouble by falsifying information, most others get away with their constructed versions of reality.

Given Philip Roth's long career as a novelist drawing on his persona
...more
cheeseblab
Jul 29, 2012 cheeseblab rated it really liked it
I can't remember now why I changed my original plan--to read only Roth's fiction--and decided to read this, the second book collected in the fifth volume of the Library of America's edition, but I'm glad I did, and glad I read it so soon after The Lifespan of a Fact, whose protagonist makes a much less palatable arugument for blurring fact and fiction.

Roth's fiction is unabashedly autobiographical, of course--or maybe "abashedly autobiographical" is apter, since he spends a great deal of energy
...more
Jim Leckband
Jan 31, 2014 Jim Leckband rated it liked it
It does take hubris or narcissism or whatever to write an autobiography of the "Facts" behind the written fiction. The author must believe that somebody has taken the time to read *those* works and then regards those works well enough to want to read the behind the scenes details.

Well, since I'm reading all of Roth, the author might be correct in his assumption. It mainly works since Roth approaches the same level of writing that he does in his novels. Which isn't hard since the main character
...more
Richard
Jun 05, 2011 Richard rated it it was ok
FIRST READ: I am a fan of Roth, and find myself engrossed in his books despite by aversion at times to his style, but while this one was wholly sound philosophically for me (insight into his translations of actual events into fictive ones, and a wonderful counterpoint from his own character Nathan Zuckerman to contest this autobiographical turn), I just wasn't charged during my read of this one and kept checking what page number I was on and how far I had to go. Sorry, Phil--I REALLY wanted to ...more
Newton
Sep 21, 2011 Newton rated it really liked it
An interesting, if at times slightly tedious, autobiographical account of Philip Roth's life up to the publication of Portnoy's Complaint, the novel that made him a literary star. The book begins with a letter Roth writes to his literary alter-ego, Nathan Zuckerman, and ends with Zuckerman's reply; in these letters, Roth (and Zuckerman) can really flesh out the purpose of the book itself, and also expose some of the truth behind "the facts" (Roth, as Zuckerman, does not let himself off easily on ...more
Jeremy
Jan 14, 2009 Jeremy rated it liked it
Well this is not the Roth you read because you love reading good writing.

It's not up to the standard set by Bukowski's Ham on Rye, but that's not purely biography, if you believe the bookjacket assignation of genre.

Anyway, the writing here is sloppy as hell, and the truest part of the whole thing is the letter from Roth's alter-ego, Zuckerman. It's true, Roth dances around motivation and culpability for the entirety, and the only hints about what hurt the most are the reappearances of "Josie" in
...more
Juan Manuel Wills
Jan 20, 2016 Juan Manuel Wills rated it really liked it
Autobiografía particular que inicia con una consulta del autor al personaje de varios de sus libros, Nathan Zuckermann, la opinión sobre la publicación del recuento de su vida y culmina, en el último capítulo, con la respuesta crítica del consultado en la que pone en duda lo allí narrado.

¿Será verdad lo leído? ¿O se debe interpretar como otra gran novela de un escritor creativo y ameno? ¿Habrá que dudar si lo escrito es una interpretación del autor de un recuerdo vago, o una certeza indiscutible
...more
John Otto
May 19, 2010 John Otto rated it really liked it
The "facts" part of this book, purportedly the autobiography of Philip Roth is not that interesting. Roth focuses on five events in his life, but leaves out so much that you wonder why he bothers. But then Roth has his alter ego, Zuckerman, comment on and criticize what he has written. That is very interesting, as he considers the difference between fact and fiction and explains how fiction can be more truthful than fact. What the book comes down to is not about the facts of the life of Philip ...more
Melissa
Nov 10, 2009 Melissa rated it liked it
Bought this book in a book store in le Marais in Paris - a book store that is also a wine bar - how perfect! I think Chicago needs one. Roth is self-absorbed, self-indulgent, self-inflating, self-centered, self-promoting - but also self-aware. Which is a very underrated quality. I have always been fascinated with Roth (and his topics), but am less so after reading this, as it humanized him so much. (So much more than Zuckerman.) This is not a good read for a reader who hasn't read his work - and ...more
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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
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“Llega un momento, como me llegó a mí hace unos meses, en que se halla uno en tal estado de desamparo y confusión, que no logra comprender lo que otrora resultaba obvio: por qué hago lo que hago, por qué vivo donde vivo, por qué comparto mi vida con quien la comparto.” 1 likes
“Los recuerdos del pasado no son recuerdos de los hechos, sino recuerdos de tu imaginación de los hechos” 0 likes
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