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About Philip Roth
In the 1990s Philip Roth won America’s four major literary awards in succession: the National Book Critics Circle Award for Patrimony (1991), the PEN/Faulkner Award for Operation Shylock (1993), the National Book Award for Sabbath’s Theater (1995), and the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for American Pastoral (1997). He won the Ambassador Book Award of the English-Speaking Union for I Married a Communist (1998); in the same year he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House. Previously he won the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Counterlife (1986) and the National Book Award for his first book, Goodbye, Columbus (1959). In 2000 he published The Human Stain, concluding a trilogy that depicts the ideological ethos of postwar America. For The Human Stain Roth received his second PEN/Faulkner Award as well as Britain’s W. H. Smith Award for the Best Book of the Year. In 2001 he received the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction, given every six years “for the entire work of the recipient.” In 2005 The Plot Against America received the Society of American Historians Award for “the outstanding historical novel on an American theme for 2003—2004.” In 2007 Roth received the PEN/Faulkner Award for Everyman.
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Books By Philip Roth
DISCOVER THE NOVEL BEHIND THE BRILLIANT NEW TV DRAMA
‘Though on the morning after the election disbelief prevailed, especially among the pollsters, by the next everybody seemed to understand everything…’
When celebrity aviator, Charles A. Lindbergh, wins the 1940 presidential election on the slogan of ‘America First’, fear invades every Jewish household. Not only has Lindbergh blamed the Jews for pushing America towards war with Germany, he has negotiated an 'understanding' with the Nazis promising peace between the two nations.
Growing up in the ‘ghetto’ of Newark, Philip Roth recounts his childhood caught in the stranglehold of this counterfactual nightmare. As America sinks into its own dark metamorphosis and Jewish families are torn apart, fear and uncertainty spread.
Who really is President Lindbergh?
And to what end has he hijacked America?
Now a major motion picture based on Philip Roth's Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece American Pastoral, starring Ewan McGregor and Jennifer Connelly
‘Swede’ Levov is living the American dream. He glides through life sustained by his devoted family, his demanding yet highly rewarding (and lucrative) business, his sporting prowess, his good looks. He is the embodiment of thriving, post-war America, land of liberty and hope.
Until the sunny day in 1968, when the Swede’s bountiful American luck deserts him.
The tragedy springs from devastatingly close to home. His adored daughter, Merry, has become a stranger to him, a fanatical teenager capable of an outlandishly savage act of political terrorism that plunges the Levov family into the political mayhem of sixties America, and drags them into the underbelly of a seemingly ascendant society.
Rendered powerless by the shocking turn of events, the Swede can only watch as his pastoral idyll is methodically torn apart.
'An extraordinary book - bursting with rage, humming with ideas, full of dazzling sleights of hand'- Sunday Telegraph
Philip Roth's brilliant conclusion to his eloquent trilogy of post-war America - a magnificent successor to American Pastoral and I Married a Communist
It is 1998, the year America is plunged into a frenzy of prurience by the impeachment of a president, and in a small New England town a distinguished classics professor, Coleman Silk, is forced to retire when his colleagues allege that he is a racist. The charge is unfounded, the persecution needless, but the truth about Silk would astonish even his most virulent accuser.
Coleman Silk has a secret, one which has been kept for fifty years from his wife, his four children, his colleagues, and his friends, including the writer Nathan Zuckerman.
It is Zuckerman who comes upon Silk's secret, and sets out to unearth his former buried life, piecing the biographical fragments back together. This is against backdrop of seismic shifts in American history, which take on real, human urgency as Zuckerman discovers more and more about Silk's past and his futile search for renewal and regeneration.
PRAISE FOR THE HUMAN STAIN:
'One of the most beautiful books I've ever read' Red
'[A] tender, shocking and incendiary story on the failure of the American dream refracted through the prism of race' Guardian
'A masterpiece' Mail on Sunday
'The most outrageously funny book about sex written' Guardian
Portnoy's Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933-)]:A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature.
Portnoy's Complaint tells the tale of young Jewish lawyer Alexander Portnoy and his scandalous sexual confessions to his psychiatrist.
As narrated by Portnoy, he takes the reader on a journey through his childhood to adolescence to present day while articulating his sexual desire, frustration and neurosis in shockingly candid ways.
Hysterically funny and daringly intimate, Portnoy's Complaint was an immediate bestseller upon its publication and elevated Roth to an international literary celebrity.
Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
The Counterlife is about people living their dreams of renewal and escape, some of them going so far as to risk their lives to alter their destinies. Wherever they find themselves, the characters of The Counterlife are tempted by the prospect of an alternative existence.
Illuminating these lives in free-fall and transformation is the acrobat mind of novelist Nathan Zuckerman. His is the sceptical, enveloping intelligence that calculates the price that's paid in the struggle to change personal fortune and reshape history, whether in a dentist's office in suburban New Jersey; a tradition-bound English Village in Gloucestershire; a church in London's West End; or in a tiny desert settlement in Israel's occupied West Bank. Shot through with head-turning dualities, as daring as it is moving, The Counterlife reinvents the novel with style, wit and grace.
Patrimony is a true story about the relationship between a father and a son.
Philip Roth watches as his eight-six-year-old father, famous for his vigour, his charm and his skill as a raconteur - lovingly called 'the Bard of Newark' - battles with the brain tumour that will kill him. The son, full of love, anxiety and dread, accompanies his father through each fearful stage of his final ordeal, and, as he does so, discloses the survivalist tenacity that has distinguished his father's long engagement with life. Written with fierce tenderness, Patrimony is a classic work of memoir by a master storyteller.
Now a major motion picture starring Sarah Gadon, Logan Lerman and Ben Rosenfield, and adapted for the screen by James Schamus
During the second year of the Korean War in 1951, studious, law-abiding Marcus Messner is beginning his sophomore year on the conservative campus of Ohio's Winesburg College. Marcus has fled from his hometown of Newark, New jersey, trying to escape his father's oppressive love - a love that is also a mad fear of the dangers of adult life soon to face his son. Whilst at college, Marcus has to traverse an American world that isn't his own: facing off against ardent Christian, Dean Cauldwell, and falling in love with the beautiful Olivia Hutton. Indignation gleams with narrative muscle, as it twists and turns unpredictably, and extends - shockingly - beyond the confines of natural life.
'A work of near heroic vitality and cunning' Sunday Telegraph
At sixty-four Mickey Sabbath is still defiantly antagonistic and exceedingly libidinous; sex is an obsession and a principle, an instrument of perpetual misrule in his daily existence.
But after the death of his long-time mistress - an erotic free spirit whose great taste for the impermissible matches his own - Sabbath embarks on a turbulent journey into his past. Bereft and grieving, tormented by the ghosts of those who loved and hated him, he contrives a succession of farcical disasters that take him to the brink of madness and extinction...
Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction
It's the sweltering summer of 1944, and Newark is in the grip of a terrifying epidemic.
Decent, athletic twenty-three year old playground director Bucky Cantor is devoted to his charges and ashamed with himself because his weak eyes have excluded him from serving in the war alongside his contemporaries. As polio begins to ravage Bucky's playground - child by helpless child - Roth leads us through every emotion such a pestilence can breed: the fear, the panic, the anger, the bewilderment, the suffering and the pain.
'The genius of Philip Roth...back at his imperious best in this heartbreaking tale... The eloquence of Roth's storytelling makes Nemesis one of his most haunting works' Daily Mail
'Cantor is one of Roth's best creations and the atmosphere of terror is masterfully fashioned' Sunday Telegraph
'Very fine, very unsettling' Douglas Kennedy, The Times
When talented young writer Nathan Zuckerman makes his pilgrimage to sit at the feet of his hero, the reclusive master of American Literature, E. I. Lonoff, he soon finds himself enmeshed in the great Jewish writer's domestic life, with all its complexity, artifice and drive for artistic truth.
As Nathan sits in breathlessly awkward conversation with his idol, a glimpse of a dark-haired beauty through a closing doorway leaves him reeling. He soon learns that the entrancing vision is Amy Bellette, but her position in the Lonoff household - student? mistress? - remains tantalisingly unclear. Over a disturbed and confusing dinner, Nathan gleans snippets of Amy’s haunting Jewish background, and begins to draw his own fantastical conclusions…
Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
Everyman is a candidly intimate yet universal story of loss, regret and stoicism.
The novel takes its title from a classic of early English drama, whose theme is the summoning of the living to death.
The fate of Roth's everyman is traced from his first shocking confrontation with death on the idyllic beaches of his childhood summers, through the family trials and professional achievements of his vigorous adulthood, and into his old age when he is stalked with physical woes.
The terrain of this powerful novel is the human body. Its subject is the common experience that terrifies us all.
Philip Roth's brilliant career was launched when the unknown twenty-five-year-old writer won the Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship for a collection that was to be called Goodbye, Columbus, and which, in turn, captured the 1960 National Book Award. In the famous title story, perhaps the best college love story ever written, Radcliffe-bound Brenda Patimkin initiates Neil Klugman of Newark into a new and unsettling society of sex, leisure, and loss. Over the years, most of the other stories have become classics as well.