John Otto's Reviews > Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories / Letting Go

Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories / Letting Go by Philip Roth
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's review
Jun 21, 2010

it was amazing

I am a Philip Roth fan, although not an uncritical one. I don't know anyone who depicts the richness of Jewish life in America with such warmth and humor but fearlessness. I wish Amish/Mennonites had someone writing who was half as good.

This book is Roth's first one, published in 1959, and winning The National Book Award.

The other five short stories in the book are the equal of or better than Goodbye, Columbus. The Conversion of the Jews, is about a young boy who questions Jewish dogma, arguing that if God is all-powerful there could have been a virgin birth as preached by some Christians. He gets in trouble with the rabbi and winds up forcing the conversion of his entire synagogue to Christianity. Many Jewish Americans were highly offended by the story, while critics loved it.

The other stories in the book are Defender of the Faith, Epstein, You Can't Tell A Man By The Song He Sings, and Eli, The Fanatic. I won't take the time to detail all of them, but generally they follow the same themes as the first two I have mentioned.

If your only knowledge of Philip Roth is the scandal caused by Portnoy's Complaint, when it was published (it wouldn't raise many eyebrows now,) then you owe it to yourself to read some of his other works. You will feel enriched.
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Reading Progress

June 21, 2010 – Started Reading
June 21, 2010 – Shelved
July 1, 2010 – Finished Reading

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