Thursday, December 27, 2007
How did Santa know?
Because I made a list, of course, and made a point of putting Exit Ghost by Philip Roth on it. I'm about 70 pages into the book. It's hard to put down, a great read. A sequel of sorts to The Ghost Writer, the first of Roth's novels about his fictional and literary alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman. The two novels bookend the Zuckerman series -- the first about the young Zuckerman, a sprinter in the literary race, and the last about the 71-year-old Zuckerman (the age Roth was in 2004, the year the events in the book take place), nearing the end of the long marathon, an incontinent, impotent prostate cancer survivor who has distanced himself from the world but is swept by a last wave of passion for a much younger woman. All while being revisited, almost 50 years later, by his youthful encounter with the novelist E. I Lonoff, his wife Hope, and Lonoff's young lover Amy Bellette, portrayed in The Ghost Writer. Humorous, poignant, satirical and written in Roth's characteristically supple, effortlessly fluid style -- it has all the Roth elements. He's one of the greats, and he just keeps on keeping on -- one of my favorite writers. Appropriately, the jacket design is by another cool older dude who just keeps on keeping on -- 78-year-old Milton Glaser.
1/03/08 UPDATE: Dr. Diablo's skepticism in the Comments to the contrary, I did finish all 304 pages. An updated review is posted at The Book Book.