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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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An American Type: A Novel Hardcover – June 7, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This posthumous work by the much lauded Roth (Call It Sleep), assembled by former New Yorker editor Davidson from nearly 2,000 manuscript pages, continues the story of Roth's alter ego, Ira Stigman. Ira, a Jewish writer, has already published his first novel to much acclaim and is struggling with the second (at Yaddo, no less) when he falls for M, a fetching Midwestern pianist, despite having Edith, his domineering mentor and lover, waiting back in New York City. Ira's search for artistic inspiration soon requires a change of scenery, so he and his latest muse, a fervent Communist, travel to L.A., but things get off to a rocky start: Ira's one contact is no longer in town and work is hard to come by, but to turn to Edith or M for help would compromise Ira's effort to stand on his own. The novel comes close to achieving its aspirations of being a sweeping portrait of 1930s America and the story of a writer struggling with art, love, and finding his own voice, but despite a strong start, the narrative loses resonance as it meanders toward an abrupt and unsatisfying conclusion. (June)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Roth made an astonishing comeback in 1994 with his first novel since Call It Sleep (1934), A Star Shines over Mt. Morris Park, which introduces New Yorker Ira Stigman, the high-strung son of Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Ira’s story quickly filled three subsequent novels to create the provoking and dramatic series Mercy of a Rude Stream. Now, 15 years after Roth’s death, we have the final book in the saga. America is in the grip of the Great Depression, and even though Ira has become a published novelist, his self-loathing goes unabated, due in part to his smothering relationship with Edith, his mentor, lover, and sugar mama. When Ira falls in love with a young composer, he decides the only way to end things with Edith is to journey cross-country with Bill, a Communist working-class hero he hopes to write about. So begins a gritty, surreal, and darkly comic on-the-road adventure through a tattered America of decrepit flophouses, grimy bars, and boxcars full of hobos. As Ira discovers Bill’s true nature and confronts bigots, crooks, and madmen, he searches for the key to transmuting raw experience into art, infatuation into sustaining love. A passionate, life-embracing conclusion to Roth’s bold and cathartic magnum opus. --Donna Seaman

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition (1st printing), edition (June 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393077756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393077759
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,200,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a great novel, edited posthumously from Henry Roth's notes and manuscripts by a young New Yorker editor. It's more in the vein of the Mercy of a Rude Stream books than Call it Sleep. It focuses more on the romantic relationships than the other books, and really gives insights into Roth's connection with his second wife. Also a bit more stuff about Roth's political views and his immersion in communist ideology. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Call it Sleep or Mercy of a Rude Stream, or to anyone who is interested in the Jewish/ American immigrant experience. It's beautifully written and a joy to read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Henry Roth in late age found his voice again and wrote a great "on the road" picaresque novel about a Jewish novelist's journey from New York to L.A. and back again riding the rails during the Depression and weaves several love stories together along with a refreshing vulnerable sensitivity to life's challenges. Remarkable and definitely worth the read if you wish to go back to his Joycean-like masterpiece Call It Sleep about his tenement childhood as an immigrant from Europe in Brooklyn.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a total HENRY ROTH devotee, but this book, pieced together from writings he left when he died, disappointed me. I HATE to say that because I think HENRY ROTH is just about the greatest writer I ever encountered. If you are a HENRY ROTH devotee however, it's definitely worth the read and belongs in your ROTH library.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Henry Roth is noted for having written one great novel early in life, Call It Sleep, then nothing of consequence for over 40 years. After his death, the writings that were to become An American Type were found among his unpublished papers. Editor Willing Davidson assembled Roth's draft into a coherent novel, now being published fifteen years after the author's death. Like his other novels, An American Type is autobiographical, dealing with Roth's experiences in the Great Depression as an immigrant, as a Jew, as a communist, and as a writer.

The novel opens as the protagonist, Ira, arrives at the artists' retreat of Yaddo, New York, where he hopes to re-energize his stalled writing career. Ira is a 32-year-old Jewish immigrant who grew up in the ghettos of New York City. He leaves behind his lover and patroness, Edith, who has been the controlling force in Ira's life for several years. His writing project is a failure, but he falls in love at Yaddo with "M", a pianist and aspiring composer. (Some characters in the novel have only initials for surnames; M has only the initial as a first name.) Attempting to free himself from Edith's control and establish financial independence so he can marry M, Ira undertakes a rash cross-country journey to Los Angeles with his communist activist friend Bill. Unfortunately, like Edith, Bill is another controlling personality who saps Ira of his energy as well as his money. The trip West becomes a plunge into absolute poverty and despair. Only his love for M pulls Ira back from the abyss.

Ira's struggle for emotional independence is also a struggle to establish his identity. He is Jewish by birth, but not an active believer.
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