Philip Roth: Boring

Michiko Kakutani on the lead character of the latest Roth barbiturate, Everyman:

The problem is, this nameless fellow turns out to be generic, rather than universal: a faceless cutout of a figure who feels like a composite assembled from bits and pieces of earlier Roth characters…

He's another one of this author's aging narcissists, increasingly isolated and forlorn and bitter; another dutiful son, torn between responsibility and rebellion; another restless womanizer continually trading in one year's model for the next. As for his life story, it's been orchestrated to underscore themes that Mr. Roth has examined with more energy and originality many, many times before…

For a fix of something livelier, here's Bill Kauffman's review of Roth's last opus, The Plot Against America — "Heil to the Chief."

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2 thoughts on “Philip Roth: Boring

  1. Maximos April 28, 2006 / 8:15 pm

    Someone must possess the courage to declare that Roth is full of it. I, under the influence of what substance I cannot now recall, persevered through a reading of The Human Stain, one of the worst pieces of fiction I have ever inflicted upon myself. The protagonist is so unsympathetic, and Roth’s didactic purpose in drawing him that way so obvious, that by the end of the book, I wanted his “lover’s” (although a better term would be f*** buddy) husband to run them off of the road.

    It’s time to break Roth’s record. It’s stuck in an old, tired groove.

  2. Bryanna Kind July 20, 2009 / 5:01 pm

    Thank God someone finally told the truth about this
    smug excuse for a writer. He’s so pleased with himself it makes me what to burn myself with cigarettes, but wait!!! that is just what one of his characters would do. Oh Gawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwd. Help me.

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