Sunday, April 27, 2008

Enter Philip Roth

I recently finished reading Philip Roth's superb novel, Exit Ghost, the latest (and final?) Zukerman story. Nathan Zukerman, by the way, is Roth's literary alter ego; a fictional author whose life has mirrored that of his creator's. Or has it?

And what can you say about a Roth book that Roth himself doesn't say better in his writing? How do you communicate his inimitable sense of style and the way in which his characters take on a life of their own? Should you paraphrase? Quote passages? What would you leave out? What essentials would you miss?

And the questions... Roth poses and answers so many questions that his fiction feels almost Talmudic in scope (including, in this case, some student acolytes).

Roth's writing is entertaining, funny, rigorous. and completely and unabashedly original. He's in a class unto himself (which, I would imagine might be a bit lonely at times).

If you haven't read anything by Roth, I urge you to do so; if you have, read more.


Parker said...

Your description of this book and the semi-autobiographical style reminded me of Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis. Have you read it?
I'll definitely try and check out Exit Ghost, as I've read a bunch of good reviews.


Martin Waxman said...

Thanks for your comment, Parker. I haven't read it, but it sounds interesting. And let me know what you think about the Roth.