rachelle's Reviews > Exit Ghost

Exit Ghost by Philip Roth
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Oct 23, 07

Read in October, 2007

Phillip Roth is killing Nathan Zuckerman. And he’s doing it in the least humane – but most human – ways: depriving him of his dignity, stripping him of his sexual prowess. Roth, who for much of his career has allowed readers to view Zuckerman as an extension, if not mirror, of himself, toys with this conceit even more obviously in Exit Ghost. Impotent Zuckerman (living an acetic mountain life shared in reality by reclusive Roth) meets a young woman who excites sexual feelings that he’s by now incapable of consummating. The book’s style echoes this failure; unlike Portnoy’s The Monkey, whose filthy pillow talk and raunchy behavior are presented as real, the mild flirtations between he and Jamie Logan are imagined in a dialogue of Zuckerman’s creation. However, of the losses most deeply felt by the aged Zuckerman, the most poignant is his memory, which, in its fading, threatens to rob him of his gift with language, and thus his lifeblood. Clearly this is the end of Nathan Zuckerman – “Nothing is certain any longer except that this will likely be my last attempt to persist in groping for words to combine into the sentences and paragraphs of a book – but it’s less evident what this means, if anything, for Roth.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Lavina Oh, I can't wait to read this! Do you think it's okay to read this without having read The Ghost Writer first?

rachelle Yeah, I think so. I barely remember The Ghost Writer, so I might not be the right person to ask, but I didn't feel I was missing anything (though I'm inclined to read it again now that I've finished this one!)

Jack I just finished the book, and came to Goodreads to see what others thought. I LOVED your review - very perceptive and entertaining. You're so right about "killing" Zuckerman inhumanely. I think for a writer like Zuckerman (Roth?) to lose his/her memory would be even worse than incontinence and impotence.

"Clearly this is the end of Nathan Zuckerman," but hopefully not Roth.

rachelle I definitely hope Roth has many more in him. Thanks!

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