Richard's Reviews > Sabbath's Theater

Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth
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's review
Sep 30, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: so-glad-i-read
Read in October, 2009

When I an entrenched in a Philip Roth book, I have simple been lured out of all objectivity and brought into an almost completely visceral state. This becomes most obvious when I tell others about the book I'm currently reading and find myself offering description that I might be otherwise reluctant to offer in even impolite company, for Roth touches on the absolute depths of depravity. While I wouldn't go anywhere as far as one of the blurbs on this book about Mickey Sabbath being a representative of humanity or any of the other spirals of language one tends to find critics roiling themselves into, I would find Mickey Sabbath quite the pinnacle of isolation, isolation expressed of course through an irrepressible lust, the need to basically stick his penis into anything warm (and I am barely exaggerating here). Roth's method becomes a little apparent here - character reaches the deepest level of his depravity and so escapes his little world (oftentimes due to a death) and as a result gets to recount the deeds of his life. But this time, the form works quite well. My keen eye to read softened for a little while at the 350-page mark, but since Roth has such a talent for endings, rather than fade-outs, I went with full steam back up through the lasst syllable. This is the kind of stuff that I doubt could be handled by anysingleotherelse today.

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