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Philip Roth: Zuckerman Bound A Trilogy and Epilogue 1979-1985 (Zuckerman Bound)

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4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  871 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 700 pages
Published September 20th 2007 by Library of America (first published 1985)
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Christina
Aug 25, 2008 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2008, library
This volume consists of the Zuckerman trilogy as well as an epilogue. I'm going to write a bit about each part as I finish it and then comment on the whole when I'm done with the entire thing. This is the first thing I've ever read by Philip Roth and I apparently Zuckerman is an alter ego that he has written several books about.
The Ghost Writer
Nathan Zuckerman is a young Jewish writer who after having upset his father and his Jewish community with a story about an old familiy feud visits his ido
...more
Alan
Dec 04, 2011 Alan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers
Recommended to Alan by: Reputation
"Bigger jerks than me review books."
—Alvin Pepler, p. 214
A writer writing about a writer meeting a writer he admires... what could be more circular, more insular than that? More effete, affected, and downright boring? Yet that is how Philip Roth begins The Ghost Writer, the first volume of his celebrated Zuckerman series of novels... and in Roth's hands, the story of Nathan Zuckerman's meeting with the reclusive E.I. Lonoff becomes a vehicle for examining the particular, for observing and report
...more
Σς
Sep 04, 2010 Σς rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Incredible. Each of the novels is stronger when placed alongside the others, the result of which is an almost Proustian achievement. Maybe half a Proust. A quarter. 784 pages rather than 3000. Still, an incredible accomplishment.

Roth seemed to know that he was writing one book rather than four--the proportions and the pacing seem slow when each book is taken individually, but when taken on the whole it is pitch-perfect. I have reviewed each of these books as stand-alone novels, but Zuckerman Bou
...more
Robin Friedman
Jul 16, 2013 Robin Friedman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Library of America has recognized the importance of Philip Roth by publishing his complete novels in a uniform set of nine volumes. This volume includes the three novels and epilogue that Roth himself grouped together and subsequently published as "Zuckerman Bound". The novels tell the story of a novelist, Nathan Zuckerman, at various critical moments of his life. Roth subsequently wrote additional novels with Zuckerman as the protagonist, but these four works stand as a set.

There is a broad
...more
Gonzo
May 13, 2013 Gonzo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book might also be titled Portrait of the Artist as a (OK, not young) Middle-Aged Man. This book does not exactly give us insight to the birth of a writer, but it does let us in on the development of a writer's conscience. In this book, Roth is able to make profound statements on art, the artist, and the interplay between the two. Roth is so often considered (or should I say "condemned as") a libertine a la Portnoy or Kepesh. This books shows that Roth takes the moral ramifications of art v ...more
Yu Wang
Maybe it's pure jealousy that prevents me from appreciating the Ghost Writer. I'm basically Alvin Pepler minus the graphic memory, of course it would be harder to witness his confidence and certainty of his own literary talent at the beginning of his inevitable ascendance, than to entertain his newly acquired swagger at the peak of his sudden fame at mid-age in the second book. But it's no accident he would be so successful in his lifetime. His writing appeals to (this is not to suggest in any w ...more
Josh Luft
Nov 27, 2013 Josh Luft rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zuckerman Bound, an omnibus of The Ghost Writer (1979), Zuckerman Unbound (1981), The Anatomy Lesson (1983), and The Prague Orgy (1985), is Philip Roth's alter ego Nathan Zuckerman at four different stages of his life. The Ghost Writer takes place over a couple of days in 1956, with Zuckerman a rising talent, spending an evening with a distinguished writer and a young woman who may or may not be Anne Frank. Zuckerman Bound catches up with Zuckerman in 1969, dealing with the publication of an acc ...more
Raffaella Foresti
Vi presento Nathan Zuckerman, il celebre alter ego letterario, narratore o protagonista di numerosi romanzi di Philip Roth. Si tratta di un personaggio chiave di tutta la sua produzione letteraria dal quale, dunque, non possiamo prescindere.

Il volume intitolato Zuckerman, pubblicato da Einaudi nel 2009 con la traduzione di Vincenzo Mantovani, rappresenta l’edizione italiana di Zuckerman Bound: A Trilogy and Epilogue 1979-1985 pubblicato due anni prima dalla celebre LOA (The Library of America).
...more
William Johnson
Sep 03, 2016 William Johnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Without an old country link and a strangling church like the Italians, or the Irish, or the Poles, without generations of the American forebears to bind you to American life, or blind you by your loyalties to its deformities, you could read whatever you wanted and write however and whatever you pleased. Alienated? Just another way to say 'set free.' A Jew set free from Jews - yet only by steadily maintaining self-consciousness as a Jew. That was the thrilling paradoxical kicker."

A quote that ca
...more
Marvin
Jan 26, 2017 Marvin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first three and a half Zuckerman books. Pleasant enough reading. Reflects a lot on writer's problems and Jewishness. Each book better in pieces than in whole, maybe.

The Ghost Writer, narrated by Zuckerman, ambles a bit--kind of lacks a plot and ultimately revolves around the narrator's imagination for a key writing-within-writing, fiction-within-fiction, realization of sorts. A writer's writing sort of book.

Zuckerman Unbound, narrated in the third person, falls into a solider sense of plot a
...more
Belen
Otra novela de Roth tras el descanso veraniego. A los veinte minutos ya estaba enganchada y sufriendo porque tiene una puntería para dar donde duele el alma que yo no encuentro, afortunadamente, en muchos más. Supongo que por su talento y por la falta de épica. Aquí no hay grandiosidad, ni exageración, es cotidiano, tan familiar como el olor a comida de mamá y claro, entra sin avisar.

Un ejemplo. Zuckerman hablando de la obra de su tan admirado maestro en el relato "Visita al maestro"

"en que el p
...more
Carla
Dec 18, 2008 Carla rated it liked it
It all started when I grabbed Exit Ghost from the new fiction section in the lobby of the library I work in. The only other Philip Roth books I've read are Plot Against America and Operation Shylock. In both of those, the narrator is "Philip Roth."

Exit Ghost is narrated by Nathan Zuckerman, and I think it may be the last Zuckerman book. I started reading it, then realized I might get it more if I went back to read the earlier Roth books using Nathan Zuckerman as the narrator.

So I just finished
...more
Barbara
Nov 14, 2010 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Ha la giusta opinione sbagliata su ogni cosa. Una testa piena di idee, tutte stupide"
Lo scrittore fantasma

"Si, pensava, la vita ha le sue frivole idee sul modo di trattare le persone serie come Zuckerman. Non devi far altro che aspettare, e la vita t'insegna tutto quello che bisogna sapere sull'arte dell'irrisione"
Zuckerman scatenato

"Tu sei convinto che dovrei essere una di quelle brave, buone e noiose ragazze americane tanto ingenue da credere che basti la bontà, basti l'energia, basti il tale
...more
Kristy
Nov 01, 2008 Kristy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew. This book (which is actually three novels and a novella) is very very long. Nathan Zuckerman is (in The Ghost Writer) a young novelist having dinner at the home of his idol; (in Zuckerman Unbound) an author who suddenly becomes famous and rich at the expense of exposing family secrets and implicating himself in sexual escapades; (in The Anatomy Lesson a jaded author who can no longer write and is plagued by uncurable pain and a lack of ideas; and (in "The Prague Orgy") a famous American wr ...more
Adamstrohm
I've admittedly kinda missed the boat on Roth, having read some of his books but almost none of the big stuff. I'm really glad I found this collection used, though, because it was really great. It might be dangerous to assume too many parallels in Roth's semi-autobiographical Zuckerman, but it feels as though some of the spirit of the book and the character comes from his issues being so close to those of Roth's own heart. The epilogue was perhaps a bit much; I might've liked things to end with ...more
Alison Zemanek
Feb 18, 2008 Alison Zemanek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Writers and others who want a break from formulated fiction.
I did not actually get through this entire edition. I read The Ghost Writer, and parts of Zuckerman Unbound. I enjoyed Roth's writing; I believe that if I were myself a writer, the story would have perhaps touched a deeper cord. Roth investigates what seemed to come across as the dark side of writing. The subject, Zuckerman, has hurt his relationship with his father by writing a story about their Jewish family, which his father believes will be interpreted as an insult to their culture. Zuckerma ...more
Rob75
Nov 15, 2010 Rob75 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Questo volume racchiude i primi quattro libri di Roth con protagonista Nathan Zuckerman, in seguito ne usciranno altri due: "La controvita" e "Il fantasma esce di scena". La vicenda parte dalla fine degli anni '50, dove troviamo uno Zuckerman ventitreenne scrittore in erba non ancora famoso, e si conclude alla metà degli anni '70, dove quarantenne si raffronta con una paranoica Praga sovietica. E' il solito Roth, l'autore sembra quasi ossessionato della sua identità ebraica e dal rancore che gra ...more
Andrea
Apr 09, 2012 Andrea rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of P. Roth
Shelves: fiction
Well, it's Philip Roth so I'll have to round up my 3 and a half stars to 4.

I had wanted to read one or two of these first "Zuckerman" novels for some time and coming across this very attractive Library of America edition, I went ahead and committed to reading 4 of them, perhaps 2 too many. While 'TGW' (4 stars) is a fairly brilliant introduction to our man Zuckerman and 'ZB'(5 stars) is both perceptive and hilarious, 'TAL' (2 stars) just drones, and 'TPO' (3 stars)is kind of amusing but feels d
...more
Jess Wisloski
Mar 20, 2008 Jess Wisloski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank god that book is over - the bound copy of three separate books, it was too freakin' heavy to lug around anymore. It's hard to judge using stars for three books, but on par it's always a great Philip Roth read.
In Ghost Writer (5 stars), young Nathan Zuckerman, writer precocious, sets out to meet his favorite author and wraps himself up in a fantasy world re-examining the authenticity of his Jewish experience, or rather, learning that as a writer you needn't defend yourself, or you will do
...more
Mike
Dec 03, 2007 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tremendous series. Given Roth's reputuation, I was less than impressed when I read The Plot Against America, which I thought was dull and rather superficial. These were among the best examples of post-war American fiction I've read. If Joyce had been born a Newark Jew in the latter 20th century he might have written these books. They reminded me of a great quote from Kafka, who is the artistic hero and inspiration of protaganist Zuckerman:

“...the books we need are the kind that act upon us like
...more
pierlapo  quimby
Nov 15, 2010 pierlapo quimby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglofoni
Ad essermi immerso così, un romanzo dietro l'altro, nel corpus di Nathan Zuckerman temo di aver perso qualcosa delle tecniche narrative di Roth, forse la sua evoluzione stilistica.
È naturale, quando non lasci sedimentare le suggestioni che nascono dalla lettura fai fatica a cristallizzare il contenuto di ciascun romanzo per meglio distinguerli l'uno dall'altro.
Ma ho preferito così.
Mi sono lasciato travolgere da un flusso continuo di Nathan Zuckerman, una emorragia di Nathan Zuckerman, migliaia d
...more
Cristián A. Gaymer
No sé......... hasta ahora no me convence Roth. Siento como si tratara de escribir enredado porque si, y no le veo la razón para hacerlo.
Como si tratara de verse tan original que al final se pierde.
Aún me queda para terminar el libro, pero la primera parte "La Visita al Maestro", lo encontré bastante fome.

So far, Roth does not get me. I feel like he is trying to be special just for the sake of it, and I don't see a reason for it.
Like he's desperately trying to be original, but gets lost.
I still
...more
Mario
Oct 02, 2012 Mario rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent writing in the service of a bland, indulgent, self-centered stories. With the exception of The Ghost Writer, it's hard to call any of it a story at all, it's just a man who has a series of near-revelations, a few of which manage to penetrate, none of which seem to carry forward to the next book. To read this collection is like watching webisodes for a TV show you've never seen; every once in a while you get the feeling that there might be something to this, but all of the action takes ...more
David
Jan 03, 2010 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zuckerman Bound , includes The Ghost Writer (1979), Zuckerman Unbound , (1981) The Anatomy Lesson (1983) & The Prague Orgy (1985). A sustained meditation on the relation between novelist, self and public personae and some of Roth's most imaginative writing. An amazing & still unbelievable feat is The Ghost Writer where the young Zuckerman visits his literary idol and believes he has also met Anne Frank, having survived WWII and now living in America. Addresses the issue of literary fame ...more
Vicki
Jun 23, 2012 Vicki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had been reluctant to read Roth because I heard that he was misogynist. I don't think so AT ALL (of course, I haven't read Portnoy's Complaint yet, but...). He mistrusts and begrudgingly celebrates human frailty of ALL sorts. He's hardest on his OWN culture. Hilarious and pointed about politics, literature...takes on all the big subjects. A writer whose voice is so distinctly his own, and that makes for exhilarating reading! Makes me want to read everything he has written.
Laurie
Jan 08, 2009 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zuckerman Unbound - it's delightful to follow Roth's inner dialgoue. ALthough this book featured some bizarre characters (the quiz show dude, really strange) and some fairly egocentric meditations on what must have been the fallout for Roth following Portoy's Complaint, I really enjoyed reading it, and will keep going forward with his books. He'll never be an all-time favorite writer of mine, but I think it's hard to be knowledgable about 20th century american lit without reading his books.
Alinola
Volevo da tanto tempo un volume che racchiudezze tutto Zuckerman e quando l'Einaudi l'ha pubblicato io me lo sono fatto regalare all'istante. Non lo leggerò tutto d'un fiato ma lascerò a Roth tutta la calma di raccontarmi le sue storie.
Partiamo dallo scrittore fantasma e iniziamo a capire chi lo scrittore, come vive, e poi capiamo all'improvviso che Philip Roth è completamente pazzo e che lo amiamo. Tutto il resto sarebbe spoiler!
Diego
Muy interesante, no había leído a otro autor estadounidense desde que leí "El ruido y la furia". Este en particular se disfruta mucho cuando hace las retrospectivas sobre los personajes que aparecen alrededor de Nathan Zuckermann (el protagonista de las 4 novelas que integran este volumen) y se deja uno llevar por la lectura. Hay muchas reflexiones acerca de la escritura y los conflictos a los que se puede enfrentar un autor por lo que ha escrito.
Diana Higgins
This was actually four books. I liked the first one a lot but then they got progressively less good. Parts of this book I wanted to scream, I was so frustrated. I can appreciate a good obsession, believe me, but Roth's obsessions and mine just do not match up. I was hoping to read all of his Zuckerman books but now I'm not sure if I'm willing to put myself through that.
Sarah
May 20, 2009 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've tried to read this book seven times. I liked him better when he was young and horny. As an adult, I find him pretentious and overrated. And of course, he has an M.A. which explains the abundance of his work. I hate advanced degrees!! They give a free pass in the publishing world to people who probably haven't experienced much life outside of dormitories and campuses.
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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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Other Books in the Series

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

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