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Wrath of Roth

November 24, 2016 22:57

Bernard Avishai takes a look at Philip Roth's latest book, Nemesis.

Not his best work, admittedly, but the old guy's still got it. But The Finkler Question is so much better.

Still, I wonder if the comparisons to Camus aren't a little rushed. Roth being Roth, we get a kind of a value-added existentialism in Nemesis, much like Koestler's in Arrival and Departure, only more dramatically convincing. We get, that is, a protagonist enhanced by our psychoanalytic knowledge of him and interpreted (this Coetzee wonderfully sees) by a narrator, another character, who may not be completely trustworthy. For Roth, I think, "being mortal" is even more complex and terrible than the way Camus presents the matter in The Plague--if not for the protagonist, then for us.

November 24, 2016 22:57

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