Philip Roth (1 Viewer)

To all my friends; I just discovered a writer called Philip Roth. The book is called Sabbaths Theatre. Does this mean anything to any of you? It has some wonderful Hank undertones throughout and for anyone who enjoys a riot this is one to get. I hope you are all drunk.
 
Hi David, seeing as nobody in the entire universe seems to have heard of the wonderful Philip Roth, I have decided to answer myself myself. Its good to know that there is someone out there who can still pick something up and squeeze the juice out of the plum. Many thanks for your correspondence and best wishes for your future endeavours no matter how depraved they may be. All the best. DD.
 
I love Roth. My favorites include
'My life as a man' 'Portnoy's Complaint'(which is hysterically funny) 'Zuckerman Unbound' and 'The Counter Life',
This is fun stuff, I've been reading him since I was 12 when he was declared a 'self-hating Jew' and I was told to stay away from him by my rabbi.
Dumb-ass.
 

number6horse

okyoutwopixiesoutyougo
Roth is an amzing writer with a savage instinct for satire and subversive humor. His send-up of Nixon, "Our Gang", is a good example of this. Also, "Portnoy's Complaint" is a portrayal of sexual anguish served up Jewish-style - very funny.

Personally, the work that resonated with me the most was "Letting Go". I read it around the age of 19 or 20 and it really got into my head. The main character "Gabe" was very similar to me emotionally and psychologically (at least at that age). It took me a while to shake that one off, actually, but I enjoyed it.

Roth fuckin' rocks. Check out "Ghost Writer", also.
 
Hello Bongo Bill, Hannah and Number6Horse, your responses are small treasures in the hellhole of my heart. Mr Roth has indeed been a revelation to me. I feel I have taken a first irreversible step on a long road which I hope will last a long time. Have just finished "I married a Communist". The two books could have been written by two completely different people and though it lacked the sheer anarchy of "Sabbaths Theatre", its take on the McCarthy witchhunts of 50's America was interesting. He is presently nuzzling up to Hank on my bookshelf. ISNT IT GREAT THAT BUSH AND HIS MAD FRIENDS TOOK SUCH A THRASHING IN THE MID-TERMS? Keep up the good work over there. We are all depending on you!

Thanks for your advice. I shall be visiting the bookshop on Monday with your recommendations firmly in my thoughts.......

I cant wait. Hope you win a race soon. DD
 
Pop go the weasels

....ISNT IT GREAT THAT BUSH AND HIS MAD FRIENDS TOOK SUCH A THRASHING IN THE MID-TERMS?

To paraphrase what Bukowski said in "Barfly":
"I don't hate politicians: I just feel better when
the bad ones aren't around!" "”Poptop.
 
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Hey David,

I started reading Roth based on these posts...good stuff...don't know where I've been the last 50 years...anyway as a great man once said: "I'm one of those uneducated minnows..."

A couple of recent sightings:

* Killing For Peace Is Like Screwing For Virginity
* Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.
* Of Course It Hurts: You're Getting Screwed by an Elephant

That is all...


PS: good to meet an Irish Dunne, I'm an English Dunn...my people all come from the Isle of Wight..landed in Los Angeles via Canada 70 or 80 years go...cheers
 
The Dunnes

PS: good to meet an Irish Dunne, I'm an English Dunn...my people all come from the Isle of Wight..landed in Los Angeles via Canada 70 or 80 years go...cheers
In Ireland there is an 'e' and in England there isnt. But to cut a long story short, we started it!
 

justine

stop the penistry
i loved American Pastoral, but it was a weird narrative style. the guy telling the story is an acquaintance of the protagonist ("The Swede"). the Swede was his hero as a boy. the narrator is now in his 60s and decides to write the swede's bio... but he writes it as though he's omniscient... anyway, fascinating portrayal of the life of an "all-American" male, but has odd ending - i was left wanting much much more to be said.
i have Portnoy's Complaint beside my bed, i've made a start on it but i keep getting distracted by Buk... what can i say, i *heart* Buk!!
 
just started reading 'Human Stain' on the basis of this thread (its the only book the library had by Roth) and so far I'm enjoying it.
So anyway
the point of this
is

thankyou
Mr Dunne:)
 

justine

stop the penistry
i just saw the movie a couple of nights ago; pretty good but i imagine the book is far better. the writer character Nathan Zuckerman is also the narrator of "The Ghost Writer" which i just read.
 
Thought I'd ressurect this topic as I'm reading 'The Plot against America' and it's stirred me to write this.

It's basically a re-telling of WWII period America told from the perspective of an 8 year old Jewish boy (named Philip Roth!) It basically looks at what may have happened had Roosevelt lost out in the 1940 election to a Nazi sympathiser.
It's been a long time since I've read a book which has got my emotions going as strongly as this, the 'bad guys' are not as obvious as you may imagine and Roth creates a very possible scenario which in parts I feel is a commentary on the modern Republican party (overtly Christian influence).

Anyway basically what I'm saying is, get it, read it, buy the t-shirt :)
 

Johannes

Founding member
Philip Roth anyone?

Just finished Exit Ghost and found it slightly, errrrm, boring. But maybe that's just me after reading the 12billionst variation of rich/famous/well settled man meets sexy young girl and starts feeling life all over again (for some reason that special plot seems to be made up from rich/famous/well settled men more often than from young sexy girls).

I liked Everyman better.

Portnoy's Complaint made quite some noise in it's day from what I've read? I liked that one too, but somehow I can't really get into Philip Roth. He 's an easy read to me, most of the time, but somehow I can't get excited.

Although you have to say that The Breast sounds exciting.
 
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LickTheStar

Sad Flower in the Sand
I tried reading Human Stain a couple years ago. Everyone said I would like it because it ties into where I grew up (Berkshire County, MA) and given some of the authors I like... but I hated it. I found it really difficult to give a shit (or two shits, respectively) about the characters.

I haven't been back, though I have considered American Pastoral on occasion... but... Right now, I've got too much I want to read to try to read something I don't think I'll like.

Just finished Exit Ghost and found it slightly, errrrm, boring. But maybe that's just me after reading the 12billionst variation of rich/famous/well settled man meets sexy young girl and starts feeling life all over again (for some reason that special plot seems to be made up from rich/famous/well settled men more often than from young sexy girls).

I don't think you're alone with that one... at the book store I work at, several people have returned the book within hours of buying it and there's a huge stack of it just sitting around. I haven't seen people so disappointed with a major author since all those Oprah people tried to read Middlesex...
 
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Johannes

Founding member
I don't think you're alone with that one... at the book store I work at, several people have returned the book within hours of buying it and there's a huge stack of it just sitting around. I haven't seen people so disappointed with a major author since all those Oprah people tried to read Middlesex...

Hehe, that's interesting. I never read Middlesex but from what I've read about it I can imagine it being quite a big dry pimple to swallow. But I've read "The Virgin Suicides" from Eugenides and liked it because of the, how do you call it, narrative perspective? It's written in the, errrm, "we-form" (?) which for some reason had a kind of hypnotic impact on me. In my mind I always saw all these boys sitting around the girls house like birds on the wires watching, watching ... It was good.
 
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hoochmonkey9

Art should be its own hammer.
Moderator
Founding member
I liked Exit Ghost, although I think Everyman was a better book. The Human Stain and Zuckerman Unbound are both very good.

but Roth is one of those writers (especially in his Zuckerman books) that deals with the relatively quiet intellectual life. a writer writing about being a writer, but not in the way Buk wrote about being a writer, more of the quiet New England college town type that pines for the coeds in their tweed miniskirts and heavy brown leggings. imagining the sex they could have if he could get his nose out of his book and she would take off her glasses. which usually is a boring turn off, but in my opinion, Roth has the talent to make it work.

that's all I've read by Roth, although I own a few more I haven't gotten to yet.
 

jordan

lothario speedwagon
i loved American Pastoral, but it was a weird narrative style. the guy telling the story is an acquaintance of the protagonist ("The Swede"). the Swede was his hero as a boy. the narrator is now in his 60s and decides to write the swede's bio... but he writes it as though he's omniscient... anyway, fascinating portrayal of the life of an "all-American" male, but has odd ending - i was left wanting much much more to be said.
i have Portnoy's Complaint beside my bed, i've made a start on it but i keep getting distracted by Buk... what can i say, i *heart* Buk!!

hey rubyred from january 2007... wanna have a long-distance relationship with me and then move across the world to live with me in oakland?
 

Johannes

Founding member
I recently reread "My Life As a Man" and liked it much better than the first time.

It's interesting, in many early Roth-novels there is this young sensitive sophisticated successfull jewish writer and here comes this parade of astoundingly beautiful girls whose only goal in life seem to be to fall to their knees and have sex with him in every way imaginable. That's okay for a while, but after the 3rd or 4th girl in that fashion it gets kind of boring and you think, ok, here comes another one. I have no way of knowing, it probably happened to the young Philip Roth all the time and he just had to tell the world. But it stinks of a sort of mental masturbation for sure. Ok.

But then in many of the early Roth-novels the protagonist suddenly becomes married or remembers his marriage or etc. and suddenly the tone of the writing changes very much into raw boiling madness, endless depression, insanity and heavy physical violence. Those fights between husband and wife really are up there with Bukowskis best scenes, the woman shitting her pants while trying to kill this guy with her high-heeled shoe, both slapping the hell out of eacht other etc. I always wondered about that, about this contrast. And I have no way of knowing either, of course, but somehow the marriage-madness in the novels always felt much closer to some truth then the parade of beautiful young girls.

Now, Maureen Tarnopol, the crazy wife in "My Life As a Man" is really masterly written. The guy, who is supposed to be the main character completely pales off compared to her, imho. You read this and think, wow, really this is hell. I googled it and read for the first time, that Roth depicted his first wife, one Margaret Martinson in many of the early novels in this way. Like Maureen Tarnopol in "My Life As a Man" she tricked him into marriage by falsely claiming that she was pregnant by him and later died in a car accident.
 

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