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Philip Roth
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Roth's Retirement

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message 1: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Phillips | 9 comments http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs...

I'm not sure if people have heard about this... But Philip Roth is retiring.

He is one of America's great writers. From 1990-2000 alone he won America's 4 major literary prizes consecutively, National Book Critic's Circle Award, PEN/Faulkner, Pulitzer, National Book Award.

If you haven't read Roth, you must.

I was just wondering what are some people's favorite books by Roth?

My first was Operation Sherlock, which is my favorite. Perhaps it's because I read the novel across the street, in Jerusalem, from where the main action takes place. Then I read Nemesis, his last novel, which was also extremely good.

Any favorites?


message 2: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Guidarini | 33 comments I couldn't stand Portnoy but I'll give him another go one of these days.


message 3: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2096 comments Mod
I read Goodbye Columbus and Portnoy's Complain in college (for fun, not for a class), and I didn't like them at all. Perhaps I was too young, too female and too "Catholic" (by upbringing) to understand?


message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 30, 2012 09:41PM) (new)

Nathan wrote: "Any favorites?"

This summer I read my first and only Philip Roth novel, The Plot Against America. The premise was interesting: What if Lindbergh became president instead of FDR? It was deeply engrossing and opened my eyes to a Judaic sensibility that eluded me as a 21st c American; but I can't say that I enjoyed it.The prose kinda sat on my chest, feeling heavy and almost suffocating. I had been interested in also reading American Pastoral; but I've tabled it indefinitely. Philip Roth might be one of those artists who I "get"; but just don't like :-/


message 5: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Phillips | 9 comments Ann -
Portnoy is interesting for its bizare quality that, after a hundred pages, begins to just get boring and kind of repulsive.
There are certain parts of Roth that are definitely difficult to get through without a hefty tolerance of vitriol and perversion, if I may. In almost every Roth book, besides Nemesis which is just a little gem, a near perfect novel in it's simplicity and beauty, there is at least one section that makes me a tad queasy and then, subsequently, to laugh out loud.
I would give him another shot, especially Nemesis.

Tanya - Plot and Pastoral are some of my least favorite books by him. Pastoral, for some reason, is lauded as his masterpiece, which I think is utterly ridiculous. There are definitely fantastic parts in it, but it looses its way and can't find it again. I will, however, admit that I have never laughed at a single sentence as hard as I did in American Pastoral, one of the only funny parts of an otherwise serious book. I would try Operation Shylock, it's a comedy but also a spy novel, in a way. Brilliantly done.


message 6: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (mkowalewski) | 46 comments The First Roth book I read was The Plot Against America and I loved it. I'm going to have to read more. Anyone have recs for the next Roth book I should read?


message 7: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Phillips | 9 comments Melissa,
I'd suggest Shylock. Thrilling, funny, beautifully written. It'll make you turn your head about two hundred times, but every time will be more enjoyable than the last. I spent half the book with my head cocked to the side like a confused doberman because how awesome the book was.


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