Shaun's Reviews > Goodbye Columbus

Goodbye Columbus by Philip Roth
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M_50x66
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Feb 25, 12

bookshelves: national-book-award
Read from February 24 to 25, 2012

It was interesting reading Roth's first book after reading American Pastoral and The Human Stain, which came much later in his career at the end of "the Roth decade" in which he consecutively won America's four most prestigious book awards. Roth's style in Goodbye, Columbus is quite different from the American trilogy. Whereas the latter are written primarily in third person limited omniscient filtered through Nathan Zuckerman's perspective, this novella is told completely from the 1st person point of view of the 23 year old protagonist, Neil Klugman, a Jewish library employee living with his overprotective aunt in late-fifties Newark, New Jersey. Missing are the omniscient authorial intrusions that litter the pages of his later works. Goodbye, Columbus, as a result, feels very much like a product of its time, akin to Walker Percy's The Moviegoer or Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. That does not detract from its brilliance, though. I can appreciate both ends of Roth's career equally.
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