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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  838 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Written in 1945, Focus was Arthur Miller's first novel and one of the first books to directly confront American anti-Semitism. It remains as chilling and incisive today as it was at the time of its controversial debut. As World War II draws to a close, anti-Semitism is alive and well in Brooklyn, New York. Here, Newman, an American of English descent, floats through a worl ...more
Paperback, 287 pages
Published September 13th 2002 by Buchet Chastel (first published 1945)
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  838 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Steven Godin
A chilling study into the rise of anti-Semitism during the closing stages of the second world war that centres on Mr Newman a personnel manager living with his mother who on a regular basis witnesses the abuse of his neighbours and locals who are of different race and culture but chooses to turn a blind eye and just get on with his life. But after he starts wearing glasses he is mistaken for a Jew and persecuted, so begins internally to question what drives ordinary people to act this way and ho ...more
Apr 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
I had already seen and enjoyed a number of plays written by Arthur Miller when I came across a copy of “Focus”. I opened it thinking that it would be another of his plays, but was surprised to find that it is a full-length novel. It was first published during the Second World War in 1945. My copy (Penguin Modern Classics edition, 1986) contained an interesting introduction that Miller wrote over 40 years later, containing his explanation of Anti-Semitism.

The hero, Lawrence Newman, lives in a row
Nick Davies
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This was a very powerful novel. Despite its short length, Miller here has written a very thought-provoking and enlightening story, that of a man in 1940s New York, swept up in the dark and increasing undercurrent of anti-semitism which was at that time growing like a cancer among some people. Despite the book being written more than seventy years ago, it still seems very relevant and important in the face of current anti-Islamic rhetoric and the struggles of other minorities to gain civil rights ...more
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heftiges Buch ... und zeitlos.
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amerikan
Bir topluluğun (toplumun) doğuştan gelen belli özellikler merkezinde değil ilkeler üzerine kurulmasının gerekliliği, mahalle baskısı, ırkçılık, kadın erkek ilişkileri sade akıcı bir dille anlatılmış. Sevdim çarpıcı bir kitap olmuş.
Mariafrancesca di natura viperesca sta con  Orlando
Arthur batte Ferdinand 10 a 0

Potrei lisciare il pelo ai miei quattro lettori su raccomandazione ( in realtà lo sto facendo) raccontando di averlo scovato intonso tra i libri trasportati in campagna alla rinfusa: intonso e con un anobino vivo e vegeto che vi passeggiava sopra.

N. 52 della primavera del 1966. Sicuramente comprato sull’onda emotiva del film di Visconti di qualche anno prima trasmesso in tv; messo da parte per impegni scolastici ( esami di V ginnasio) prima e per pregiudizi mutuati
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Geçen yıllar boyunca hem yoğun bir korku hem de umutla metro sütunlarını araştırıp durmuştu. Zira bela çıkarsa hangi rolde içinin rahat edeceğinden hiçbir zaman emin olamamıştı. Ama şimdi belayla sokakta, herkesin önünde karşılaşmıştı ama işin sonu kötü bitmemişti. Aksine komşularıyla arasında daha önce hiç hissetmediği bir yoldaşlık bağı kurulmuştu. Trende koltuğunda otururken kendin güçlü hissetti. Hatta sert. Sf:75

Hikayeden çıkarılacak ders, tramvayla eve doğru yol alan Bay Finkelstein'a hi
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just who is the main character in Arthur Miller's Focus? Is is Mr. Newman or Mr. Finklestein? Only if the reader makes Mr. Finklestein the main character can you actually see that Arthur Miller thought anti-Semitism to be wrong. I humbly feel that the real focus of Focus is the persecution of Mr. Finklestein for nothing more than being "Jewish". I want to call it shocking how anti-Semitic almost the whole cast of characters (even Mr. Newman) are but the real truth is that I know that religious, ...more
Ian Russell
May 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: marginal bigots, dyed-in-the-wool bigots, any bigots, anyone at all.
Man, this book opened my eyes to a piece of American history I had no idea happened. A short-sighted man, a gentile, avoids wearing glasses because they accentuate those features of his that bring to mind the stereotypical face of a jew. A dangerous image at a time when America is going through a nasty phase of anti-semitism, looking to blame the jews for all their problems; the economy, the war, the perceived decline in their neighbourhoods. When his eyesight gets so poor it noticably affects h ...more
Nov 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who knew Arthur Miller wrote novels? Certainly not me before reading Focus! It is very clear when reading this novel, that Miller is also a playwright. The style is incredibly cinematic; the narrator hangs over characters and seamlessly drops in and out of their lives, the action in this book is dramatic and I think that its psychological dimension would be enhanced if performed. There is, without a doubt, a blurring of styles in Focus which makes it so readable and also so thought-provoking. Ar ...more
Lance Eaton
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I came across this novel in a used bookstore and thought the premise sounded fascinating, especially since I've been a fan of Miller's dramatic works. The story follows Lawrence Newman after he awakes in the middle of the night to hearing a screaming woman being assaulted. But since the woman is a minority, he largely seems to pay it no mind. The bachelor enjoys a home in a white Christian neighborhood and works in New York City and is largely successful until his eyesight gets the best of him a ...more
Oct 14, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
This is a really fantastic and true to life novel and also the only novel Arthur Miller ever wrote. It tells the story of time in American history flooded with anti-semitism and too close to our own time to feel like the racism is fully behind us. Newman, a man living in post World War II Brooklyn, holds the same level of anti-semitism that is brewing in the neighborhoods around him. He has gone about apathetic to his ignornant bigoting until his eyesight forces him to get glasses that cause him ...more
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Though ultimately the feeling after reading Focus is that something was missing -- something that could have earned the novel five stars and masterpiece status -- Focus is still a quality read and highly recommended. Miller is adept at creating rich characters with real personalities and inner souls, at generating suspense through foreshadow, and at involving the reader through conflict. The theme is looking the other way when your fellow man is in distress leads to yourself falling victim to th ...more
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
A bold and powerful attack on the wartime anti-Semitism prevalent in America prior to the revelation of the full extent of the holocaust's horrors. Written with wit and Orwellian simplicity, Miller shows the supposed evils of the semitic character to be a mere reflection of the suspicions a collective with an identity (in this case, the good Christian folk of America) would like to express towards all humans, their distrustworthy selves included, projected onto an "other". Penned by a man better ...more
Jun 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
1945 novel focusing on one man's response to anti-Semitism ... after a new pair of eyeglasses makes him "look like a Jew." A bit dated but still powerful and provocative. Ignorance and hatred of "the other" is sadly timeless.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book exposes the reality of evil people that exists in this world who hate other people simply because of appearance, race, religion and stature in life.
M.R. Dowsing
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Miller's only novel suggests he could have become just as great a novelist as he did a playwright. First published in 1945, the theme is anti-Semitism in America, and Miller admits himself in the introduction (written in 1986) that this turned out to be a less major threat than it had seemed at the time. However, it would be a mistake to assume that the book is in any way dated or irrelevant, especially as the recent resurgence of the far right has once again emboldened the racists.

I always enjo
Monique Gerke
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"O que o senhor vê que o deixa tão louco quando olha para mim?" (Pag. 208)
. .
A história se passa em New York, perto do fim da segunda guerra. O clima é extremamente hostil para os judeus, seja pela guerra (muitos os consideravam os causadores dela, logo, culpados), mas principalmente pelo preconceito formado. O personagem, Lawrence Newman, não é propriamente um antisemita, mas ignora o tratamento rude, hostil e violento que é destinado aos judeus no meio em que vive...isso, até ele precisar usa
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't know what "nationalist" and "internationalist" are code for
An anti-Semite gets glasses which he thinks make him look more Jewish. Pretty soon the rest of the world begins to agree with him. Not sure if Arthur Miller means that everyone in the 40s was constantly on the lookout for Jews, or if Newman's increasingly deferential and victimized behavior caused the change. Most likely the former; it's not a particularly subtle book.

There's a moment of clarity towards the end which is superb, followed by some rather believable mental fumbling as Newman comes t
Hugo Damián
Dec 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Que se siente cuando tu vida da un giro de 180 grados y de golpe te encuentras formando parte de aquellos a quienes hasta hace un minuto odiabas y despreciabas?
Que se siente cuando todo el odio que enviaste al aire vuelve para golpearte en el pecho como un bumerang ideológico?
Que se siente sentirse desprotegido y víctima, luego de pasar toda tu vida señalando acusadoramente y haciendo daño?

La única forma de responder estas preguntas será tras recorrer las páginas de esta obra literaria impecable
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prachtige roman die leest als een thriller. Meesterlijke observaties, heerlijke setting in het New-York van de jaren '40 en een helaas nog steeds actuele thematiek: jodenhaat en racisme in het algemeen.
Miller is een kei in het beschrijven van de menselijke geest en drijfveren en de zoektocht naar identiteit.
Onvoorstelbaar dat dit pareltje uit 1945 heeft moeten wachten tot in 2017 om vertaald te worden.
Scott Carlin
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had never read any novel by Arthur Miller but I am a huge fan of his plays. This novel has all the dramatic intensity of one of his plays and as such is a thoroughly enjoyable read. You can see that Arthur's pedigree of play writing has come through in his prose writing as all of the characters are rich and interesting. Well worth a read.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's an important book and shows the insidiousness of anti-Semitism, but it's just SO SLOW. Maybe that's what it takes for someone to begin to question their prejudices, but it just felt so formal, even stiff (which was mostly due to the main character).
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
interesting examination of anti-semitism and prejudice, wth a main character who is easy to hate but it is interesting to see him change and learn as the novel progresses and his anxieties are realised.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very strong
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very current. Loved it.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kaylee Bauer
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it
It has a good theme and intention. Just very boring.
Elliot Kaufman
Dec 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
A little affecting, but seemed badly dated and overwrought.
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Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright and essayist. He was a prominent figure in American literature and cinema for over 61 years, writing a wide variety of plays, including celebrated plays such as The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, All My Sons, and Death of a Salesman, which are still studied and performed worldwide. Miller was often in the public eye, most famously for refusing to g ...more
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