With the honesty of a skilled biographer and the sensitivity of a caring son, Roth chronicles the life of his father, Herman, in this gripping work which won a 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award.
Roth holds little back in describing his father as a man of rare intensity and fierce independence who, for better or worse, stood by his principles and held others to his own rigorous standards. Writes Roth, "His obsessive stubbornness--his stubborn obsessiveness--had very nearly driven my mother to a breakdown in her final years." Frank throughout, Roth calls his father "a pitiless realist, but I wasn't his offspring for nothing, and I could be pretty realistic, too."
From Publishers Weekly
Alter ego Nathan Zuckerman doesn't appear in these pages, andneither is there any sleight of hand blurring the line betweenliterature and life. Instead, here is Roth (NBCC Award-winning TheCounterlife ) at his most humane as he pens a kaddish to his recentlydeceased father, Herman. A vigorous 86-year-old, Roth pere wakes upone morning and half his face is paralyzed; soon he is deaf in one earand the verdict is a benign brain tumor. Surgery is ruled out for theoctogenarian, and the author is a helpless, horrified witness to hisfather's humiliating demise, "utterly isolated within a body that hadbecome a terrifying escape-proof enclosure, the holding pen in aslaughterhouse." In a fast-paced, cogent memoir, Roth, whose filialdevotion and awe are tempered with clear-eyed observational powers,ranges far afield and discusses the anti-Semitism of the insurancefirm that employed Herman Roth for 40 years; Herman's perfectionismand his latter-day disregard for his wife whom he neverthelesselevated to quasi-sainthood after death; Herman's abandonment of hisphylacteries in a locker at the local YMHA; the author's quintuplebypass surgery weeks before his father's death; and Herman'sincontinence and the ample size of his genitals. BOMC alternate.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.