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Zuckerman Unbound (Zuckerman Bound #2)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  2,283 ratings  ·  101 reviews
Now in his mid-thirties, Nathan Zuckerman, a would-be recluse despite his newfound fame as a bestselling author, ventures onto the streets of Manhattan in the final year of the turbulent sixties. Not only is he assumed by his fans to be his own fictional satyr, Gilbert Carnovsky, but he also finds himself the target of admonishers, advisers, and literary critics. The recen ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published June 30th 2011 by Random House (first published 1981)
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American Pastoral by Philip RothThe Human Stain by Philip RothPortnoy's Complaint by Philip RothGoodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories by Philip RothSabbath's Theater by Philip Roth
Best Philip Roth Books
12th out of 37 books — 61 voters
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodThe Color Purple by Alice WalkerEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardWatchmen by Alan MooreBeloved by Toni Morrison
Best Books of the Decade: 1980's
299th out of 1,032 books — 1,121 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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.)

As regular readers know, for a long time I've carried a pretty big chip on my shoulder when it comes to the Postmodernist era of literature, which I'm defining here as the period between Kennedy's death in 1963 and September 11th; I suppose it's a natural reaction for any underground artist, in fact, to r
Ubik 2.0
Ovvero.Come Nel Mio Tempo Libero Trasformai La Fama E La Fortuna In Un Disastro

Zuckerman Scatenato, certamente non un romanzo, fa parte di quelle opere (come il più complesso “La mia vita di uomo”) in cui Philip Roth dà l’impressione di esercitarsi riproponendo i temi che gli sono propri ed affinando le tecniche narrative soprattutto nella costruzione dei dialoghi, come sempre travolgenti.

Non c’è trama propriamente detta, non una particolare progressione di un’unica storia, anche se il tutto res
Roth è un genio. L'ho sempre pensato, l'ho sempre detto e questo romanzo ne è l'ennesima conferma.
Chi conosce Roth, saprà certamente chi è Nathan Zuckerman. Nel caso non lo sapeste, no problem. Ci sono qui io pronta a spiegarvelo.
Nathan Zuckerman è l'alter ego di Philip Roth,. Nathan Zuckerman è uno scrittore che, dopo aver conosciuto la fama che il suo libro "Carnovksy" gli ha regalato deve affrontare tutto ciò che la fama e il successo comporta e porta con sé. Un successo che porta la firma
Zuckerman Unbound recapitulates the post-publication notoriety/misery Nathan Zuckerman experiences in the wake of releasing his novel, Carnovsky (a stand-in for Portnoy's complaint.)

Progressively, he detaches himself from his third wife, his New York anonymity, his dream that he'll be rescued by a goyim actress, his father (who dies), his mother (who is unfaltering in her protection of him), his younger brother (who declares that he deserves no such protection after have exposed and abandoned e
What I feel is the most important question on this book, was asked in the first one (ghost writer)... Does the artist have no responsibility towards his loved ones, his family? His father dies (with the word "bastard" on his lips), and once his brother is pushed a bit, you see how much he despises what zuckerman has made of himself (and his family), with his writing. "Do you really think conscience is a jewish invention from which you are immune?.."... The fame factor is also a pretty funny part ...more
i must not be the only one who feels cheated when they read a roth novel, always expecting more because of his super-sized reputation only to find two-dimensional characters, caricatures really, with even more simplistic portrayals of women to accompany his petty whining and shallow revelations. do reviewers not dare criticize how lame it is to pat yourself on the back for a character's attempt at a one-liner? or note that every character delivers speeches in the same voice, without the slightes ...more
Leggendo questo libro mi sono sfilati davanti agli occhi scena dopo scena “Radio days” e “Harry a pezzi” di Woody Allen, ma anche “La vittima” e “Il dono di Humboldt” di Saul Bellow. Questi tre uomini più di tutti gli altri sono riusciti, secondo me, a rappresentare un’epoca, un popolo, un tipo di uomo ben preciso. Nessuno meglio di loro è riuscito a mettere su carta e sullo schermo l’ebreo di Newark. Che a dirla così sembra poco, e invece hanno riflesso nei loro personaggi tutto un insieme di s ...more
Michael Battaglia
I don't know much about Philip Roth other than he's from New Jersey, is apparently Jewish and has written quite a few novels that have won awards. I also remember when he said that he wasn't going to write fiction anymore. All this probably makes him fairly famous by most author standards, he may not be Stephen King or Dan Brown but chances are people with a smattering of knowledge about contemporary literature will have at least heard of him, even if they couldn't name his Zodiac sign or his fa ...more
Roth is interesting. I quite like him, but he does not make me swoon. Nevertheless, I want to read everything he has written. I put him in my Paul Auster camp – a writer’s writer. He is Raymond Carver sans lyricism – grittier and more self obsessed. I don’t particularly like Nathan Z. but I don’t hate him. I understand him at the same time that I don’t. So, in Nathan Z., Roth has created a “real” “character” – messy, me-centric, confused, trying to find his self and hold it down long enough to g ...more
Artists who write about their fame have always annoyed me, and I can't bring myself to admire Stardust Memories, but this is Philip Roth, and lesser Roth is so much more powerful than lesser Woody Allen. I'm starting to become obsessed and don't want to finish the summer without reading a majority of Roth's pre-nineties work --- I love esp. his seamless ability to digress into hilarious anecdotes without losing the pulse of the narrative and the sense that the paragraphs are coming to his Olivet ...more
Roth intrigues me for the fact that sometimes I have a rather unenthused reaction to some books, but he manages to pull things together towards the end, and not in a cheesy, over-formalist way. At first, this book may feel a little to self-congratulatory - Nathan Zuckerman is a thinly veiled Roth in the midst of success over a rather sexual and controversial book, alienating his lovers, friends and family, and Zuckerman even from himself. A romp with a movie starlett feels like a doldrum in this ...more
I was not as impressed as a was after the Ghost Writer, but this book was still worth the time. When comparing the book to Roth's life (an obvious comparison and one the author probably intended for me to make, I know) the layers of meta-fictional reality that come out are stunning. I've never been so affected by a brief tangent on the nature of art in Plato and Aristotle's writings.

But, on the other hand, what is it with Roth and having people send the leftovers of there ejaculate to other char
Fairly good follow-up to Roth's The Ghost Writer, with some excellent passages, especially in the last fourth of the book as the character of Nathan Zuckerman travels to Florida for a familial crisis. I enjoyed it quite a bit more than Ghost, but something still feels a bit lagging as I trudge along with the Zuckerman books. I'll come across some great passages of excellent writing and beautiful emotion-filled sequences then ten pages of shoulder shrugging... I don't know the best word to descri ...more
The second in the Zuckerman series.

I always admire the family portraits in Roth books. The parents of any of his protagonists are always very beautiful people, not just amusing.

And Alvin Pepler, Zuckerman's stalker, the jilted quiz show phenom with a photographic memory, who served his country in two wars and claims Zuckerman stole his life for his book - what a huge, wonderful character! Roth creates a history for this man almost entirely with the character's frenzied monologues.

Not as romantic
At first you think, "Roth's novel about the surrealness of celebrity after his first major publishing success -- who cares?" Then Zuckerman Unbound becomes much, much more than that, a meditation on the responsibilities of the artist to his friends, family, and himself that's severe, honest, and not full of a single ounce of self-pity. It might also be Roth's best merging of humor and sadness. In short, the reason he's one of the all-time greats.
Willy Schuyesmans
Hoewel zijn naam en reputatie mij niet onbekend waren, had ik nog nooit een boek van Philip Roth gelezen. Ik wilde natuurlijk 'Portnoy's klacht' lezen, maar dat was niet beschikbaar in de bib. Dus werd het 'De eenzaamheid van Zuckerman'. Een vreemd boek over de schrijver die overrompeld wordt door zijn succes, zich nergens meer kan vertonen zonder herkend en aangeklampt te worden en zich daardoor bedreigd voelt. Driekwart van het boek vertelt dit verhaal in een ietwat lichte, vaak humoristische ...more
Robert Poor
"Zuckerman Unbound," the second of Philip Roth's series centered around writer and alter-ego Nathan Zuckerman, occurs about ten years after the first. Now, in the late sixties, we see Zuckerman in the middle of his fifteen minutes of fame, having written a steamy book about growing up Jewish, bookish and depraved ... called "Carnovsky." Like Roth's own "Portnoy's Complaint," Carnovsky's lead character describes intimate details of his sexual fantasies, actions and desires, written in such as a w ...more
Seconda avventura di Zuckerman, protagonista di Lo scrittore fantasma, ora trentenne vittima del proprio stratosferico successo letterario. La narrazione è costituita per lo più da lunghi dialoghi tra Zuckerman e altri personaggi solitari quanto lui, ma più esasperati e grotteschi, e si conclude con una lunga parte in cui lo scrittore si ricongiunge alla propria famiglia. I parenti di Zuckerman, genitori in primis, hanno un cattivo rapporto con la sua notorietà per via dei contenuti dell'ultimo ...more
Es interesante ver como un autor construye su estilo.
Alex Ronk
Un libro que tenía pendiente desde hace muchos meses y gracias al desafío de 12 meses, 12 libros me decidí a leerlo y a elegirlo como el libro de Diciembre. Creí que sería una lectura que en verdad valdría la pena y que la disfrutaría demasiado, pero me equivoqué. Puede que simplemente no fuera el momento de leerlo o es un tipo de lectura que no es para mi.

Son tres historias + un epílogo con el mismo protagonista: Nathan Zuckerman, de ahí deriva el título del libro y es que al menos para mi fue
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Saleem Khashan
this is another book I listened to by chance during my workouts, It met the criteria needed for work outs and more but it left me stranded in the middle of the story feeling betrayed by Mr Roth abrupt ending, just as soon as I started feeling Zukerman is a man I know, and A character that gained my sympathy, boom; he packed his suite case and said goodbye. I do understand this is part of his style to keep you coming for other books but was not the best of feelings. maybe I am to blame after all ...more
Sep 14, 2010 §-- rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: novel
"What is the crisis in the life of a writer? What obstacles must he overcome in his relation to the public?"
"First, their indifference; then, when he's lucky, their attention." (p. 274 of Zuckerman Bound)

"But they live. The maniacs live better than we do. They flourish. It's their world. You should read my mail." (p. 311 of ZB)

"Inventing people. Benign enough when you were typing away in the quiet study, but was this his job in the unwritten world?" (p. 394 of ZB)

Lots of fun. Laugh-out-loud fu
Louis Dirigible
One of the better ones. Sort of a flattened ending that I didn't mind.

note to self: kept notecards with quotes to remember, really thought himself a funny guy "one of the boys."

same nucleus of roth characters with alvin pepler as the zinger. i don't remember if in one of the other reviews of his thousand and one books i noted that he views himself as a noir character, deadpanning like bogie to the amusement of all (effect of money). but it makes me think his portrayal of women is clandestinely
Zuckerman gets famous!

I love the quote on the back of the book, from the Village Voice: "Not since Henry Miller has anyone learned to be as funny and compassionate and brutal and plaintive in the space of a paragraph." Personally, what I've read of Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer) I would discredit; but I definitely agree with this description of Roth's writing. Very gripping.

I've written about Roth's style just the other day, and this book certainly dittos all that. His subject matter takes it
Scott Paul
I've read about six books by Philip Roth, and I've had two consistent experiences with each: complete enthusiasm on my part and either boredom or near complete indifference from anyone who accepted my hearty recommendation and took it upon themselves to give him a go. Clearly I'm not alone in my admiration; Roth is a Pulitzer winner and the author of nearly thirty books. Still, I cannot at times help but be a little baffled that I've never met another fan. So if you take him up on my recommenda ...more
Earlier this year, Philip Roth published the final chapter in his series about his erstwhile Zuckerman, called "Exit Ghost". Now I would profess to being a big fan of Roth's writing, but I am likewise ignorant of the broader catalog of his work. Wanting to be on the right wavelength, I picked up Zuckerman Unbound, with the intention of following him through the chronology. I haven't quite got there yet, and I don't anticipate completing the rounds any time soon, but I do love Mr. Zuckerman.

Je connaissais Philip Roth grâce à son fabuleux roman La tache. Un peu déçu après la lecture de Complot contre l'Amérique, j'avais délaissé cet auteur. En lisant un article paru à l'occasion de la sortie de son nouveau roman, Exit le fantôme, mettant en scène, peut-être pour la dernière fois, son alter ego de papier Nathan Zuckerman ma curiosité a été piquée par la découverte des premiers romans relatant les aventures de ce personnage. Mon sentiment, à la lecture des deux premiers tomes est part ...more
Agnes Mack
This book is basically a fictionalized version of Roth's life after he published the widely praised and popular book, Portnoy's Complaint. In Zuckerman Unbound, his alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, has just published a similar book. Zuckerman, like Roth, was completely unprepared for the celebrity and wealth he came into. He deals with the Jewish community's reaction to a book about a Jewish misanthrope, he gets death threats, his wife has left him and he can't go anywhere without being recognized - ...more
Hernán M.
An outstanding improvement over The Ghost Writer, this novel fathoms on Zuckerman's dissatisfaction with sucess. Only a bored and resignated socialite as him would befriend Alvin Pepler's absurd lies, griev over a ménage à trois with a Xerox machine and remember a short story in which, as himself, a Jewish kid wonders what happens when religious walls tear apart.
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  • Bech is Back
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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
  • The Anatomy Lesson
  • The Prague Orgy
American Pastoral (The American Trilogy #1) Portnoy's Complaint The Plot Against America The Human Stain (The American Trilogy, #3) Everyman

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“Carrying his books from one life into the next was nothing new to Zuckerman. He had left his family for Chicago in 1949 carrying in his suitcase the annotated works of Thomas Wolfe and Roget's Thesaurus. Four years later, age twenty, he left Chicago with five cartons of classics, bought secondhand out of his spending money, to be stored in his parents' attic while he served two years in the Army. In 1960, when he was divorced from Betsy, there were thirty cartons to be packed from the shelves no longer his; in 1965, when he was divorced from Virginia, there were just under sixty to cart away; in 1969, he left Bank Street with eighty-one boxes of books.” 1 likes
“But by the third year he had come to wonder whether Laura's purpose wasn't the shield behind which he was still hiding his own, even from himself.” 1 likes
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