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1 Burnside Literature- A to Z

The Humbling

by

The Humbling Cover

ISBN13: 9780547239699
ISBN10: 0547239696
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Review-A-Day

"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

Publisher Comments:

Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roths 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 cant 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 days journey into night, told with Roths inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our lifes performances—talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation—are stripped off.

The Humbling is Roths thirtieth book.

Synopsis:

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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OneMansView, November 21, 2009 (view all comments by OneMansView)
Analysis is Paralysis (3.75*s)

Simon Axler, long a star of the stage, was a natural. But he worked at his craft. He often arrived hours before a performance just to get into the mood of a role – nothing particularly analytical. However, seemingly suddenly, Simon couldn’t let his acting flow; he was literally paralyzed by attempting to, in real-time, observe and critique his performances. “He’d lost his magic.” His failures at such places as the Kennedy Center were so total and devastating that he and the critics agreed that he no longer belonged on a stage.

Perhaps if Simon, now sixty-five, had been younger, he could have regrouped or changed. Instead Simon contemplates ending it all but chooses to check into a psychiatric facility with all of its stock, infantile treatments and therapies. He eventually concludes that life is all caprice – one can gain and lose powers practically overnight.

Left in utter isolation in his rural farmhouse in New York, Simon is surprised by the visit of the now-grown, forty-year-old daughter of acting friends from many years ago. Peegen, as it turns out, is on the rebound from a lover, girlfriend who is in the process of changing sexes, but immediately begins a most thoroughgoing relationship with Simon. He has always been attractive to women; he appeals to their need for expression. Over the next year or so, he spends large sums on her in trips to NYC. Inevitably, doubts begin to intrude, but they agree to “risk.” In his state of mind, regardless of developments and consequences, does he really have a choice?

The book is short. One is reminded of many of Roth’s recent books: aging male, infirm in various respects, absolutely still attracted to intriguing women, and an end racing towards him at nearly breakneck speed. While the book is short, it is complete. Roth says what he wants to and as always in a sharp Rothian, appealing manner. Perhaps the nature of acting and it precariousness could have been explored, but the focus here is on a character. Not great, but a nice, little book.

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Product Details

ISBN:
9780547239699
Author:
Roth, Philip
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Actors
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20091102
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Language:
English
Pages:
160
Dimensions:
7.5 x 5 in 0.57 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books

The Humbling Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.95 In Stock
Product details 160 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780547239699 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "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?" (read the entire Rain Taxi review)
"Synopsis" by ,
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.
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