Ron's Reviews > Indignation

Indignation by Philip Roth
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's review
Aug 06, 11

An enjoyable and surprisingly easy read from such a master of the thoughtful novel. In some ways it had many of Roth's hallmarks, with a 1950s hero who is a disaffected Jew, young, intelligent but whose parents [well, father] have had too strong an influence for him to fit in away from home.

However, written from the point of view of a nineteen year old killed in Korea, this tells the story of how Marcus Messner, a lad of strong principles but little experience, attempts to settle in a very old-fashioned college in Winesburg, Ohio. His first experiences of intellectual challenge, sharing rooms, sex and clashes with authority, ultimately prove too much for him, despite the reader's desire for him to come through.

I liked the inevitability of the ending with the regular references to the Korean War, the array of unique characters Marcus encounters and the denouement where Roth structures the change from first person narrative to third with subtlety and efficiency.

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