Stefani's Reviews > Letting Go

Letting Go by Philip Roth
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Apr 13, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: academia, classic, semi-depressing

This is too long. It's less dense than say Tolstoy, but still mindlessly repetitive in sections, particularly when we are privy to the lengthy and intense inner dialogue of characters followed by lengthy and intense spoken dialogue followed by door-slamming and other dramatic effect.

Having said that, I think Roth is immensely skilled at revealing the restlessness of a generation that has started to question the relevance of institutions like religion, marriage, etc...Both Libby and Paul are ostracized from their families due to religious differences and must cope with the isolation and ensuing quest for meaning in their lives that follows. Gabe Wallach stumbles upon the couple in graduate school and becomes an unwilling—yet strangely compliant—witness to the the issues in their marriage. Eventually, Gabe is sucked into another strange pairing, this time a relationship with a divorced mother of two children.

I had read that Philip Roth was unkind to his female characters, often portraying them as shrill, hand-wringing fishmonger's wives without much depth to sustain them. In this novel, my sympathies wandered from Libby and Megan Reganhart's constant expression of angst and worry over non-existent issues; it kind of made my eyes glaze over.

But, I give four stars for Roth's ability to write dialogue that's believable and engaging, particularly for a first novel.
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