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Zuckerman Unbound Paperback – August 1, 1995

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Zuckerman Unbound + The Anatomy Lesson + The Ghost Writer
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Both these novels follow protagonist Nathan Zuckerman through different times in his life?Ghost Writer, dubbed a "glowing work of fiction" by LJ's reviewer (LJ 9/1/79), introduced the character in his youth, while 1981's Unbound offers him in his mid-30s. Roth's many fans will be happy to see these again.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"It was bold of Roth to write a novel about being famous...a comic stroll in a hall of mirrors." —Newsweek

"[Roth's] narrative hand is wonderfully sure, his comic timing worthy of the Ritz Brothers.... Not since Henry MIller has anyone learned to be as funny and compassionate and brutal and plaintive in the space of a paragraph." —Village Voice

"Zuckerman Unbound is masterful, sure in every touch, as clear and economical of line as a crystal vase." —The New York TImes Book Review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage International ed edition (August 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679748997
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679748991
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #577,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
This novel is brisk, funny, enlightening, and moving.
Mike Poole
Zuckerman's book sounds much like Roth's own novel "Portnoy's Complaint" which brought him notoriety, wealth, and fame.
Robin Friedman
If you are looking for humor and entertainment, a good read.
D. Crowell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By AusNashPeople VINE VOICE on April 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
In this installment of the Zuckerman story, we observe a writer who has reached the pinnacle of American celebrity recognition - a front cover on Life magazine. After publication of "Carnovsky" his polarizing, provocative, entirely sixties novel, he is now recognized in buses, deli's and on the street. He is the envy of millions, the target of others, and an object of desire among women. All he could have ever wanted, but here we see an ordinary man thrust reluctantly into the spotlight and deeply conflicted about his place there. His newfound wealth fits like an oversized suit, and he gets accosted by strangers on a regular basis.

Ultimately, this book is one of realization that despite his new status as a millionaire celebrity writer, he has lost his connection with his family and his past in Newark. While romanticizing Newark, or at least revealing it to the masses, and stoking the imagination of those who believe "Carnovsky" to be autobiographical and about his family, he has lost the respect of his father and brother.

Roth pokes fun at those who equate a fictional character with its author, causing us to resist the temptation to compare Nathan Zuckerman with Roth. That is too irresistible a conclusion, and probably too obvious. Roth appeals to the voyeur within us, while leaving us wondering about the lines between fact and fiction.

Another highly entertaining, funny and readable work by MR Roth.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mike Poole on March 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
Nathan Zuckerman is an Everyman with Everyman's problems. Never mind that he is suddenly famous. Never mind that he is the author of a perverse volume known as Carnovsky (presumably similar to Roth's own Portnoy's Complaint). Never mind that he is psychologically oppressed by his Jewish parents and upbringing. These are all just fodder for his overactive mind to react to, trip over, and take refuge from. He could have been anybody. Roth's portrayal of Zuckerman is so accessible and so real that you understand him completely despite his unusual circumstances. The balance of sympathy, pathos, and humor lead you to never doubt that this is a basically good man suddenly overwhelmed by life. You may not agree with his actions, but you can't be certain that you would have reacted any differently. This novel is brisk, funny, enlightening, and moving. Thought provoking and thoroughly entertaining.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on August 22, 2013
Format: Paperback
You are not Paul Newman, but you are no longer who you used to be either.
Nathan Zuckerman has done it, he has published a best seller. We are in the late 60s in Manhattan, 15 years after the young hopeful writer visited the established, dis-illusioned older writer in the Berkshires, in the short novel 'The Ghost Writer'.
Now Nathan has arrived and the story starts, properly, with Nathan on the way to an investment adviser. He has money. And he is known, people recognize him. And some want his money. And he finds his way into gossip magazines and talk shows. Nathan has a hard time coping with wealth and fame, which both take their toll on his paranoid mindset.
He has a hard time too being different from his novel's hero. People take it for granted that the novel is autobiographical. Just like you and I will assume that Zuckerman is Roth's alter ego. Hard to keep fact and fiction apart.
Some people are not happy about his successful novel. He is criticized for exposing dark sides of Jewish private life to the goyim. How could he do that to his Jewish mother, say friends of his mother. How could he do that to his WASP wife, say friends of his wife.

This is volume 2 in the Zuckerman quartet. Or rather of the 'trilogy with epilogue'.
It introduces us to a stalker, who accosts NZ in a deli with a tale of his life and his own writing. Weirdly funny, about American TV quiz shows.
It gives us a view of NZ' s failed marriage. He has just moved out from wife #3, but doesn't unpack the book boxes yet. There is some lingering hope, but it was he who couldn't stand her do-goodism any longer, so what is the hope for? His sudden fame causes trouble: an extortionist calls him and wants money, tied to threats against N's mother.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A.J. on January 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
Many writers base their work on their own lives, but with Philip Roth the practice borders on narcissism. In "Zuckerman Unbound," which takes place in Manhattan in 1969, Nathan Zuckerman, a simulacrum of Roth himself, is an author who has just published a commercially and critically successful novel called "Carnovsky," which seems very similar to "Portnoy's Complaint." Hesitant to adjust to his new life as a millionaire, he continues to live like a schlub, riding the bus and eating in cheap delicatessens, even though his face has been on the cover of Life magazine and people recognize him in public.

Fame has its disadvantages; Zuckerman is besieged by letters and solicitations from fans, freaks, and creeps, especially the thug who keeps phoning him threatening to kidnap his mother for ransom. One day he meets a fellow Newark native named Alvin Pepler, a burly but obsequious and tirelessly garrulous man who is trying to write a book about his unlucky involvement in a quiz show scandal in the fifties and seeks Zuckerman's help in getting it published and advice about writing in general. The nonchalant but slightly amused manner in which Zuckerman reacts to the possibly psychopathic Pepler, who quickly becomes defensive after he asks for (and receives) criticism, is one of the novel's enjoyable subtleties.

Zuckerman's love life is an aching echo of his fictional Carnovsky's. His marital record is extremely shaky; he is twice divorced and currently separated from his wife Laura, a lawyer who defends draft dodgers evading Vietnam. His fame allows him an otherwise improbable consort--the voluptuous but aging Irish actress Caesara O'Shea, who is growing bored with all the attention she gets even while her star is slowly fading.
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