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The Humblingby Philip Roth
"There are a handful of writers I read not because of the stories they tell, or for their memorable characters, or for their ability to evoke a time or place, but because I really enjoy being inside their heads. Alice Munro is one of these writers....Philip Roth is another...there is something absolutely irresistible about his prose. I eat it up. Usually a few pages into one of his books, I find myself saying to myself, or to the person on the couch next to me: Why can't all writers be this good?" Rhian Ellis, Rain Taxi (read the entire Rain Taxi review)
Synopses & Reviews
Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth’s startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, "are melted into air, into thin air." When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. "Something fundamental has vanished." His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can’t persuade him to make a comeback.
Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day’s journey into night, told with Roth’s inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life’s performances—talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation—are stripped off.
The Humbling is Roth’s thirtieth book.
A haunting, incisive and honest new work of fiction from a legendary writer, told with Roth's inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, that strips off all the ways in which we persuade ourselves of our solidity.
About the Author
In 1997 PHILIP ROTH won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House and in 2002 the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in fiction, previously awarded to John Dos Passos, William Faulkner, and Saul Bellow, among others. He has twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has won the PEN/Faulkner Award three times. He has also won American PENs two highest awards: the PEN/Nabokov and PEN/Bellow awards. He is the only living American novelist to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America.
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