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Nemesis by Philip Roth
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Jul 04, 12

bookshelves: fiction
Read in March, 2012

Nemesis is the most un-Rothian of Roth novels. Roth's novels usually turn out of nowhere on some unforeseen twist that manages to completely flip the story around and this usually happens relatively early, is utterly preposterous, and is unbelievably brilliant. And yet in this novel, the twist doesn't happen until near the end, it is completely telegraphed throughout (or at least most of it is), and it is sort of just "eh."

Plus, the majority of the novel is just an in-depth, maudlin, and almost Rockwell-ian picture of America in the middle of the 20th century and sappiness is not Roth's strong suit (he does it well enough, but who wants to read it?).

As for the plot, the first 90% is basically a period piece about life in a Jewish neighborhood in New Jersey (the setting for most of Roth's novels) during the polio scare of the 1940s when life was simpler and the world was isolated. It is obviously well written and not un-entertaining (if that is a word), but it lacks that usual Rothian bite (until the end, but the payoff isn't even all that great). It's a decent read, just not one of his best.
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message 1: by Krishna (new)

Krishna This is the best review of this book.


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