Susan Berry's Reviews > The Humbling

The Humbling by Philip Roth
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May 15, 2011

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Read in May, 2011

This review is written in such a way so as to not give away too much.

The The Humbling by Philip RothThe Humbling is a good short read whose main character, Simon Axler reminds me of the actor Sean Connery (except maybe Axler's burliness).

Roth keeps the pace moving. The book highlights indepth the problems with intimate relationships between people who are more than fifteen years apart and the possible costs of introducing third parties to a committed sexual relationship.

A few things I wish were a bit different. One is that I wished Roth had explored the Shakespeare/Macbeth issue much more. That way, lovers of Shakespeare would be drawn to the book and expand the reach of the book. As it is, Shakespeare/Macbeth seems to be only in the book as a passing reference. Second, the sex scene with Tracy seems a teensy bit gratuitous. Third, Sybil's Van Buren's sister's comment about the suicide watch for her Sybil's cell and then the sister's explanation as to why her sister committed the act does not go together. If anything, it should be a suicide watch for Allison (much later in life probably). Sybil is portrayed by this portion of her sister's explanation as a mother who blames the child though that is not how Roth defines Sybil elsewhere. Fourth, when Sybil tells her sister after the act, that he wanted mayhem, is this a reference to her ex-husband or to someone else and why did he want mayhem?







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