Thursday, May 24, 2018

On Roth

I haven't read a thing by Philip Roth, and the descriptions of his work and style in this article in Slate doesn't really encourage me to try him, either.   I don't know - the whole intense American Jewish introspection thing just doesn't appeal to me. 

I was struck by this paragraph regarding his most infamous book:
What you can’t really feel anymore is the shock, or the funniness. Portnoy’s problem is that it was too successful: It remade the culture in its own smutty image. Today the bawdy set pieces—crude masturbation jokes involving raw liver—seem as American as American Pie. What remains, under the antic comedy, is the familial sadness of the Portnoys, so much love leading to so much misery, and the hectoring voice that would carry so much of Roth’s subsequent work.
Yeah, thanks for nothing, Mr Roth...

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