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Exit Ghost (Complete Nathan Zuckerman #10)

3.48  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,729 Ratings  ·  412 Reviews
Like Rip Van Winkle returning to his hometown to find that all has changed, Nathan Zuckerman comes back to New York, the city he left eleven years before. Walking the streets like a revenant, he quickly makes three connections that explode his carefully protected solitude. One is with a young couple with whom, in a rash moment, he offers to swap homes. From the moment he m ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published September 4th 2008 by Vintage (first published 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Koivu
Jul 31, 2013 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading Roth makes me so depressed. I grew up on Charlie Brown holiday specials and Mr. Rodgers, so I feel right at home!

In Exit Ghost we have an aging writer, greatly concerned with his failing bladder and memory, worrying his way to an early grave. However, before he's allowed a graceful exit, a young woman comes along and reignites his useless libido. As if that wasn't enough, a young man forces himself upon the writer compelling him to defend a revered and long dead author with feeble rage a
...more
Sam K G
Dec 31, 2007 Sam K G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Roth fans
Shelves: fiction
In characteristic Roth style, the novel is filled with references to the great writers. Joseph Conrad features prominently; Zuckerman and Jamie discuss his novella ‘The Shadow Line’ in depth. E.I. Lonoff is often compared with Bernard Malamud, and a small biographical conundrum in the life of Nathaniel Hawthorne receives rather intense scrutiny. Passing references are made to Isaac B. Singer, Herman Melville, Ernest Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, and William Faulkner. One of Saul Bellow’s novels is ment ...more
Kathy
Dec 05, 2008 Kathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you liked this book, I have some very fine cloth to sell you. It has special properties which make it invisible to the eyes of fools and simpletons. You might want to make a nice sweater out of it. It is very, very expensive, though -- a cloth fit for an emperor.

All right, that's obnoxious of me. But I don't come to this novel as someone who is unfamiliar with Philip Roth (I liked Ghost Writer, loved Goodbye, Columbus and think American Pastoral is almost a masterpiece), and thus I don't feel
...more
Chance Maree
Jun 05, 2013 Chance Maree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, owned-paper

I need not critique Roth, I think. He is a skilled and professional writer recognized as such through numerous awards, etc. Instead, I'll use this review to remind myself of what was interesting and instructive about this novel: 1) The narrative flow, sentence construction, and all mechanics of writing are smoothly modeled here, and make for good reference. I simply enjoyed the writing. 2) The overwhelming theme, and one that will be useful for understanding a population of humanity that I'll no
...more
Andrew Smith
Jan 10, 2015 Andrew Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To say that this is a grim story of an old man’s battle with incontinence, impotence and lust for a much younger woman would be technically correct, but it really doesn’t do this book justice. Nathan Zuckerman (Roth’s alter ego) is the fictional writer Roth has featured in nine of his novels, with this almost certainly being the last.

The story follows the absorbing The Human Stain as Zuckerman travels back to his native NYC after a prolonged exile in the rural Berkshires. In Manhattan he meets
...more
Ginny_1807
May 23, 2014 Ginny_1807 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
”Forse le scoperte più potenti sono riservate all'ultimo”
Nathan Zuckerman è l’ombra dell’uomo che è stato, un morto volontario alla vita nel presente, essendosi ritirato in un luogo isolato da undici anni per dedicarsi unicamente alla scrittura, lontano dai giudizi e dagli occhi indiscreti del mondo.
Una scelta di solitudine estrema, in origine maturata col pretesto di sfuggire a inquietanti, anonime - e forse vuote -, minacce di morte e in seguito consolidatasi come replica orgogliosa e sprezza
...more
rachelle
Oct 23, 2007 rachelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phillip Roth is killing Nathan Zuckerman. And he’s doing it in the least humane – but most human – ways: depriving him of his dignity, stripping him of his sexual prowess. Roth, who for much of his career has allowed readers to view Zuckerman as an extension, if not mirror, of himself, toys with this conceit even more obviously in Exit Ghost. Impotent Zuckerman (living an acetic mountain life shared in reality by reclusive Roth) meets a young woman who excites sexual feelings that he’s by now in ...more
Doug
Mar 22, 2013 Doug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A phenomenal five star book. Looks like a tiny book to be read on a Friday, but I found that I needed time to read and reread many sentences. So many of the sentences and paragraphs belong in quotes stand there and force you to wonder how one can write so perfectly. I started off reading this in my Film Noir inner voice then shifted to my Tell Tale Heart voice - finally I just read it the way I read Sprinhgsteen lyrics with respect. There is a great story, settings and characters in there too, b ...more
Shane
Feb 19, 2015 Shane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book on aging, the unpleasant sides of it, and the urge of the human spirit to be young again despite infirmity and the looming prospect of insignificance and death.

An aging writer, Nathan Zukerman, Roth’s fictitious self, has retreated from the literary and celebrity world of New York into the mountains of New England, in the aftermath of death threats. Once safe in his hideout, cut off from TV, the Internet and other distractions, he is afflicted with prostate cancer which renders him impote
...more
Cynthia
Nov 10, 2009 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is only my second Roth novel and my first of his Zuckerman series. Roth does not protect himself. He puts his guts on the page. I like that about him. Zuckerman has become impotent and incontinent and has been Thoreauing it in an isolated cabin when circumstances lead him back to New York City where he runs into his deceased writing mentor’s lover, now 70 something and with a brain tumor that disfigures her ancient face. She’s confused and rambling around in the past. He also meets a young ...more
Jen
Oct 23, 2008 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to read one of the world's best living writers
With the election around the corner, Exit Ghost struck a nerve with me because it takes place in the weeks around the 2004 election - and in NYC, where the young characters are passionately hoping that Kerry will win.

Nathan Zuckerman is a renowned writer who has lived in isolation in nature for the last 11 years because he started getting death threats in NYC addressed: "Dear Jew Bastard." A prostate cancer survivor, he returns to New York in his 70s for treatment for his incontinence. He's swep
...more
Dusty
Mar 25, 2008 Dusty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dusty by: Warren Ilchman
Shelves: read-in-2008
So, I know Philip Roth is supposed to be the United States' greatest living novelist and therefore beyond reproach, but I really, really struggled with this book. Thankfully, it was brief (only 300 pages) and so throughout the slow, redundant first half of the book I could remind myself that the end wasn't really that far away. Maybe I'm just not the right audience for a Roth novel. I felt much of the time that I was being lectured to about literature (bad -- I wanted a novel, not a book of lit- ...more
adam
Oct 05, 2007 adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every few years, grouchy old reclusive misanthrope Philip Roth emerges from his country home in Connecticut with a novel, like Moses at Mt. Sinai bearing the tablets to the Isrealites-no, wait, FUCK THAT, more like Prometheus descending from Mt. Olympus giving fire to the Greeks-and yet again he's done something really special. This book is so sad and so funny, it's maybe the best example yet of the author's famous mission statement: "Sheer playfulness and deadly seriousness are my two best frie ...more
Susie
May 10, 2009 Susie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd give it more than five stars if I could. I love Roth, and this book is a distillation of all his classic themes. God, I love Roth. Nathan Zuckerman at 71, returning to New York City after self-exile of 11 years, trying to seduce a 20-something woman, while vowing to do evertyhing in his power to prevent E.I. Lonoff's biography from being written, while meeting with Lonoff's erstwhile young mistress now an old woman close to death, at the time of the Kerry/Bush election. It just has it all. I ...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
I guess today is not my day with books. Another one I tried to get into but it just lost me about 30 pages into it. The man is dying. Doesn't like modern technology and well that's about all I got out of this.
Edmole
Nov 28, 2013 Edmole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
About a man who briefly forgets to accept his solution to his failing, aged body - retreating into the country, into work, into isolation - and returns to New York. There he gets the scent of the hunger and combat that drove him in his youth, and is battered by the agonies of renewed desire and fantasy in the face of the biological fact of decay.

Roth's distinct, solid lyrical gravity takes a little time to get used to, but once accepted seems the only way to tell his story. The pull and repel of
...more
Ginny_1807
Jun 16, 2016 Ginny_1807 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanzi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adam Dalva
Sep 17, 2013 Adam Dalva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And so with this I come to the end of the Zuckerman books. I can't imagine reading this w/o the context of the earlier writing, particularly without the ghostwriter, which this neatly bookends. As a stand-alone work, it, alone of the Zuckermans, wouldn't quite work. But as the last chapter in a massive writing project - it's lovely. It's melancholy, but there are moments where the Zuckerman of old surfaces that are thrilling. The other strange aspect is encountering, for the first time, Nathan i ...more
Nancy
Aug 17, 2009 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never read Philip Roth. I thought he was a "man's" writer and, from the discussions I heard, that he wrote mostly about the fact that young men want to have sex all the time. Which is really not nearly as interesting as young men think it is.

But I picked up this book recently and read it one day, could not put it down. It is the most recent, maybe last book about Roth's protagonist Nathan Zuckerman who the public probably thinks is Roth's alter-ego.

I loved this book. Maybe it was a man's boo
...more
Bistra Ivanova
Oct 14, 2010 Bistra Ivanova rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Тази книга може би не е най-подходяща за първа среща с Филип Рот, но какво път (оказа се последна от поредицата за героя, алтер его на Рот, Цукерман). Историята нормално не би ми харесала - седемдесетгодишен писател-легенда се завръща в Ню Йорк Сити след 11 години тих уединен живот на майната си, запознава се с нови хора, връща се в миналото и у него всичко в един момент се преобръща и си припомня какво беше това да си Жив. През цялото време ми напомняше на друг голям американски автор на 20 век ...more
Marius van Blerck
Jun 05, 2010 Marius van Blerck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm currently plowing through the gripes of Roth, and Exit Ghost is the fourth and latest book of his that I've completed. As with the others, I started this one really not expecting to enjoy it terribly much, and ended up impressed. I look forward to reading more of the enigmatic Nathan Zuckerman in his earlier life, after having experienced the angst of his ageing experiences. Roth really has a gift for describing interesting situations that in other hands would tend to be tedious episodes. Mo ...more
Casey
May 21, 2007 Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any Roth fan or fan of Jewish lit
Almost seems like a follow up to Everyman rather than the ninth Nathan Zuckerman book, but if you've read any of the Zuckerman series then this is a fitting end to those books. It's not a grand epic, that's not what Roth does anyway. It's a brilliant little tale of a reclusive author re-entering society for a brief couple weeks during the Kerry/Bush cat fight. It also has the most graphic descriptions of a man's incontinence and waning physical abilities that I've ever read. If you like that sor ...more
Eli
Feb 25, 2016 Eli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Η ταχύτητα με την οποία επιβάλλεται η έλξη δεν επιτρέπει παραίτηση και δεν εμπεριέχει την έννοια της παραίτησης - αφήνει χώρο μονάχα για τη βουλιμία της επιθυμίας".
David
Oct 08, 2007 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This slender, urgent gem from Philip Roth works like a thriller and a literary high-wire act, a wrily pseudo-autobiographical novel that warns against the temptation to draw connections between art and life. All this may not seem so surprising, but it is at once a timeless and timely book (set around the 2004 election, and serving as a portrait of modern day New York and the plague of cell phones) about death and sex, and, therefore, life. It's prime Roth, and a quick ride. And luckily, I feel o ...more
Malbadeen
Mar 17, 2009 Malbadeen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read it, I said it, I stole your momma's credit....I forget the rest of the rhyme.
*at some point I'm hoping my life calms down enough to actually review this book so I can add my voice to the itsy bitsy pool of people out there reading Roth. I mean come on, the guy deserves an audience for his scribblings and until I share MY opinion, I fear he will not get it. Hold on Roth, hold on!
Aaron Talbot
Nov 25, 2015 Aaron Talbot rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
absolutely wonderful book that ends roth's zuckerman series and my completion of said series.

i first read roth (the counterlife) while an undergrad in dr. gordon's postmodern lit class at florida and vowed then and there to read all of roth's zuckerman books. it took me 20 years but i am extremely glad i followed through. in this book, i realized why i was so attracted to roth/zuckerman in the first place: his embrace of chaos while still fighting to impose a sense of regularity to our existence
...more
Anna
Oct 14, 2015 Anna rated it it was ok
I'm generally a fan of Philip Roth but I didn't really enjoy this.

Zuckerman dealing with his failing body is confronting at first but he goes on about it at such length. His loss of memory, his fantasies about Jamie, and Amy's tumour all imply an ambiguity of reality which is never resolved satisfactorily. And the "He and She" dialogue is just plain awful. Zuckerman's rapid infatuation with Jamie feels forced, like it had to happen because Roth likes writing about how sexy women are. Although "b
...more
Gabriel
Zuckerman abandona el silencio y la quietud de su carretera rural de montaña en los Berkshires para someterse en Nueva York a una intervención quirúrgica que podría ayudarle a controlar su incontinencia, producto de la extirpación de su próstata cancerosa hace once años. Durante más de una década se ha mantenido escribiendo en el aislamiento, “había dejado de habitar no solo el gran mundo, sino también el momento presente. Mucho tiempo atrás había aniquilado el impulso de estar en él y formar pa ...more
Leila
Dec 06, 2012 Leila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Philip Roth book and it's made me hungry for more. No other writer could make me so interesting in the sexual fantasies of an old man with bladder problems. No other writer could make me sit down and read a book about an old man's bladder problems. So now I understand the genius that everyone talks about. I consumed this book like fire.

This was also one of the few books I've read where at the end, I wasn't rooting for the protagonist to get what he wanted. I was hoping he woul
...more
Lee
Jun 20, 2007 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First-person Zuckerman. My fave sort. Enjoyable, readable. Generous conversational narration with typical Shakespearean flourishes. Trailblazes a new genre of chick lit for the geriatric set: instead of being all about men, marriage, fashion, and babies, it's about death, impotence, incontinence, dead 20th century literary figures, senility, and arrow of desires aimed at the much-younger loins of alluring ladies. Like Everyman, I felt this one was a little less than Roth can do. Everyman felt li ...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
More about Philip Roth...

Other Books in the Series

Complete Nathan Zuckerman (10 books)
  • My Life as a Man
  • The Ghost Writer
  • Zuckerman Unbound
  • The Anatomy Lesson
  • The Prague Orgy
  • The Counterlife
  • American Pastoral
  • I Married a Communist
  • The Human Stain

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“...The end is so immense, it is its own poetry. It requires little rhetoric. Just state it plainly.” 7 likes
“... and I experienced the bitter helplessness of a taunted old man dying to be whole again.” 7 likes
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