Cover Story: Roth's Everyman Has Heart and Heart Disease

The Jewish Standard cover story by Jerry Karp this week deals with Philip Roth, Philip Roth: A writer’s journey - From ‘Portnoy’ to ‘Everyman’.

Roth has six books on the recent NY Times list, What Is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years? He's always been one of my favorites. Some quotes from the Karp story/review:

Roth has opened the trapdoor to the inner reaches of the experience in store for those of us blessed to live a long life: the fight against failing health and diminution of vitality, the campaign waged against death...

It’s clearly no coincidence that Roth has chosen heart disease for his everyman rather than a more ferociously debilitating and painful ordeal like, for example, cancer. For this protagonist, reinvigoration remains a tantalizing possibility, a hope pinned to each medical procedure, almost until the very end. The possibility of vigor retained through one’s 70s and beyond is tantalizingly dangled before him in the guise of his brother Howie, several years his elder but fit and robust right through to the novel’s climactic opening scene.

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