Enter once again into the echo chamber of Philip Roth's memory and imagination with his new novel, Indignation
. In the second year of the Korean War, a butcher's son--a straight-A student wound tight with aspiration--flees Newark and his father's increasingly unhinged fears for his safety. Heading midwest, he finds a strange collegiate land of fraternities, football heroes, V-neck pullover sweaters and white buckskin shoes, panty raids, and mandatory chapel services, and, most startlingly, a young woman with desires of her own. In Indignation
, his 25th novel, he has constructed a taut, haunting (and, as always, funny) story that ranks among his best. Reading at times like a buttoned-down Portnoy's Complaint
(if it's possible to imagine such a thing), Indignation
records a series of small explosions against '50s propriety and the dire consequences they lead to, capturing the misery of desire amid repression, along with the greater terror of being trapped in endless, relentless memory.
• Read the first chapter of Indignation
• Listen to our interview with Philip Roth
• Watch a video of Philip Roth talking about Indignation
The Plot Against America
In an astonishing feat of empathy and narrative invention, our most ambitious novelist imagines an alternate version of American history with The Plot Against America
In 1940 Charles A. Lindbergh, heroic aviator and rabid isolationist, is elected President. Shortly thereafter, he negotiates a cordial "understanding" with Adolf Hitler, while the new government embarks on a program of folksy anti-Semitism. For one boy growing up in Newark, Lindbergh's election is the first in a series of ruptures that threaten to destroy his small, safe corner of America--and with it, his mother, his father, and his older brother.
Roth's award-winning first book instantly established its author's reputation as a writer of explosive wit, merciless insight, and a fierce compassion for even the most self-deluding of his characters. Goodbye, Columbus
is the story of Neil Klugman and pretty, spirited Brenda Patimkin, he of poor Newark, she of suburban Short Hills, who meet one summer break and dive into an affair that is as much about social class and suspicion as it is about love. The novella is accompanied by five short stories that range in tone from the iconoclastic to the astonishingly tender and that illuminate the subterranean conflicts between parents and children and friends and neighbors in the American Jewish diaspora.
Library of America Editions
For the last half century, the novels of Philip Roth have re-energized American fiction and redefined its possibilities, leading the critic Harold Bloom to proclaim Roth "our foremost novelist since Faulkner." Roth's comic genius, his imaginative daring, his courage in exploring uncomfortable truths, and his assault on political, cultural, and sexual orthodoxies have made him one of the essential writers of our time. Philip Roth: Novels and Other Narratives 1986-1991
, the fifth volume of The Library of America
's definitive edition of Philip Roth's collected works presents four books that exemplify the description of Roth, proposed by British novelist Anthony Burgess, as a writer "who never steps twice into the same river."
• See a complete Philip Roth timeline from the Library of America