At its heart lies the marriage of Peter and Maureen Tarnopol, a gifted young writer and the woman who wants to be his muse but who instead is his nemesis. Their union is based on fraud and shored up by moral blackmail, but it is so perversely durable that, long after Maureen's death, Peter is still trying—and failing—to write his way free of it. Out of desperate inventions and cauterizing truths, acts of weakness, tenderheartedness, and shocking cruelty, Philip Roth creates a work worthy of Strindberg—a fierce tragedy of sexual need and blindness.
|Publisher:||Random House Adult Trade Publishing Group|
About the Author
In 1997 Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House and in 2002 the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction. He twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He won the PEN/Faulkner Award three times. In 2005 The Plot Against America received the Society of American Historians’ Prize for “the outstanding historical novel on an American theme for 2003–2004.” Roth received PEN’s two most prestigious awards: in 2006 the PEN/Nabokov Award and in 2007 the PEN/Bellow Award for achievement in American fiction. In 2011 he received the National Humanities Medal at the White House, and was later named the fourth recipient of the Man Booker International Prize. He died in 2018.
Date of Birth:March 19, 1933
Place of Birth:Newark, New Jersey
Education:B.A. in English, Bucknell University, 1954; M.A. in English, University of Chicago, 1955
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A little too over the top for me. The meta-fiction works well, but I kept thinking to myself, "Wow, each Philip Roth in this book really hates women."
This is a crafty, ferocious, angry book.
I don't know off hand how many Roth books I've read now, but I suspect it's easily in the two digits. I've also read more essays, reviews and entire books of criticism of Roth than any sane person should. A common criticism of his work is that he portrays women poorly, that he is in fact a misogynist.Maybe it's because I didn't graduate from college and was therefore able to avoid any sort of Gender Studies class, but I never really had a problem with his portrayal of women. He typically has two extreme versions of women in his novels. Woman 1 : Simple, easy to get along with. There to please. Lacking any sort of personality or sense of self.Woman 2 : Bold, articulate, straight forward. Demanding and challenging.In most of his stories, his protagonist will at some point have to decide between these two types of women. They always struggle to choose and the outcome is never the same. While I have considered that it would be nice if he'd occasionally write about a more balanced woman, I don't think that every book I read has to incorporate every type of person ever, so I mostly scoff and roll my eyes at the more feminist criticisms of his work.Then, I read this book.Stop the presses, it's true : Philip Roth hates women. Knowing as much as I do about his background, it is clear to me that this book was a direct attack on his first wife, who died well before the book was written. This novel is the story of their relationship, their downfall and her eventual death. It reads as a bitter, scathing, one-sided and completely unfair assessment of their relationship. The woman is a crazy person, he is perfect. All of their problems were her fault.It was gossipy, hostile and downright unpleasant to read. I will not be reading this again and I'm hoping to soon forget it.That said, the prose was beautiful. He wrote some interesting tidbits about Chicago and the first 1/4 of the book, before he got nasty, was intriguing enough.In summation : Uh, don't read this unless you really, really hate women.
Mr. Roth has created a carefully plotted story about a self absorbed man and the woman that would bring his brightful future down. The ending is poignant while the introduction is enthralling. Both of the main characters, Nathan Zuckerman and Peter Tarnopol, are trobuled but always intriguing characters with empathatic back grounds. The story contains little nuggets of humor and authentic interactions. The great problem with this book is what the author allows the narrator to do; the second half of the story drags on because the flow of the book comes to a dead stop. It's constant complaining about life one line after another. The theme of the story has already been completed and yet Mr. Roth continues to jam the message down the reader's throat for a hundred pages. Outside of that one problem with editing, this is without a doubt a worthwhile book to read; you just might find it a little daunting.