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Philip Roth: Novels and Other Narratives 1986-1991 / The Counterlife / The Facts / Deception / Patrimony (Library of America #185) Hardcover – September 4, 2008

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About the Author

Philip Roth, acclaimed author of Portnoy's Complaint, The Human Stain and many other works of fiction, is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Medal of Arts from the White House.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America; First Edition edition (September 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598530305
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598530308
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #869,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Philip Roth emerged as one of the most influential American writers of the 20th century and a man whose talents were to stretch the boundaries of western literature and bring new life into American fiction. Capably edited by Ross Miller (Professor of English and Comparative Literature, University of Connecticut), "Philip Roth: Novels and Other Narratives 1986-1991" is the fifth and latest volume in the outstanding Library of America series showcasing the work of this American literary giant. These writings are taking from the author's mid-career and include 'The Counterlife', a ground-breaking novel which was published in 1986; 'The Facts: A Novelist's Autobiography' published in 1988 and represents Roth's professional memoir; 'Deception', a candid noel of adultery published in 1990; and 'Patrimony: A True Story' which, published in 1991, received the National Book Critics Circle Award and is the story of the author observing his 86-year-old father Herman Roth unrelenting struggle against a fatal brain tumor. Published on acid-free paper, "Philip Roth: Novels and Other Narratives 1986-1991" is a critically essential addition to academic and community library American Literature reference collections and 20th Century American Literature supplemental student reading lists.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This LoA volume gives us more variations on the lives of the hardly distinguishable duo Philip Roth & Nathan Zuckerman.

Nathan Zuckerman is a staple among Rothean heroes. In 'Counterlife', of 1986, he is an observer, a narrator, a lead actor, and a catalyst. His subject is the life of his younger brother, and his own. We know of brother Henry, the New Jersey dentist, and his abnormally perfect and bland wife, from previous Zuckerman novels.
An alternative title for this book was 'If/then'. I wonder if Roth is ever serious at all. He must explore the comical sides to the most serious issues.
This is what Nathan says about Henry, half way through: if Henry was ever going to be interesting, it was me who would have to do it.
But then we watch Henry gaining the upper hand. That's life, that's fiction. Roth at his playful best.

After that, Roth felt like moving from fiction to facts. Just don't believe it. In 'Facts', of 1988, we are given an 'autobiography' of the 55 year old. It focuses on a young life of bliss, upset by a bad marriage. Roth wasn't sure (so he claims), if this miserable piece of 'My Ex the Bitch' should be published at all. He asks his creature Zuckerman for advice. Zuckerman is against it, but what practical power does a hero have?

It gets even more bizarre between the two men. 'Deception' of 1990 gives the Roth alter ego as a Jewish American writer in England, engaged in dialogues, mostly with a woman with whom he has an adulterous affair. We learn that Zuckerman has died at 44 and the man in the dialogue is working at a biography. Absurdly amusingly confusing. And then he goes and rants about anti-semitism in England. And against his feminist critics.

Finally: 'Patrimony', a narrative of the dying process of the author's father. Realistic, serious, probably entirely honest. A very impressive dissection of a procedure that we all dread.
Roth is growing on me.
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Format: Hardcover
The two non- fiction works here 'The Facts' and "Patrimony' are among the most harrowing and moving of his work. The story of his caring for his sick father is one in which there is a degree of warmth and human feeling sometimes missing from his work. His heart- attack in the course of caring for his father and his getting through it all is a remarkable story.
'The Counterlife' is one of Roth's explorations in multiple- identity post- modern fiction. It also provides him an opportunity to explore the reality of Israel and to give his complex sense of what it means to be a Jew in the modern world. His reversing the normal order of things and ranting on about how it is the Jews of Israel who are the endangered species shows his political bias and awareness. I do not sympathize with his view of the Jewish religion or of the political situation in Israel but he has acute insight into many of the types of characters who live there.
All in all his work always has elements of brilliance and most often humor. At times however the Imagination runs on too long and he wears the reader down.
Nonetheless the work here and his work in general is in the first rank.
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Format: Hardcover
This 5th volume of the Library of America's collected works of Philip Roth brings together some of Roth's most fascinating views on what it really means to be a writer, a son, and a famous man in contemporary America. Building on the earlier Zuckerman voice and narrative style, but in no way using them as a crutch, these four books are splendid, and in retrospect, they truly foreshadow the "GD of Letters" that Roth has become these last two decades.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was about as boring a book as I have read, definitely the
worst one I read in 2013. zzzzzzzzz
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