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3 Burnside Literature- A to Z

Everyman

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Everyman Cover

ISBN13: 9780618735167
ISBN10: 061873516x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Review-A-Day

"The upside, of course, is that Roth is the best fiction writer America has ever produced. And Everyman is fiction as calligraphy, a ribbon of memory spun from a single stroke across a couple hundred pages, encircling, and entombing, a life." Scott Raab, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

"Let's use a noun I've never used before: masterpiece. Whereas Roth's prize-laden recent fictions are a tad manipulative, in Everyman there is never any sense of a novelist trying to write a novel. Every sentence is urgent, essential, almost nonfictional....Everyman is therefore that rarest of literary achievements: a novel that disappears as it progresses, leaving in one's hands only the matters of life and death it describes." Joseph O'Neill, The Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)

"Everyman is in places quite beautiful, illuminated by that fine precision and relative spareness of language that has characterized Roth's work in his late phase. Like some of that work, notably The Human Stain and American Pastoral, it starts well and ends even better, but it leaves the muddle of a middle somewhere behind it, like a sloughed skin....Despite some undeniably moving passages, the novella fails to gather its power: the sum of its parts is not finally as affecting as the parts themselves." James Wood, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)

"Everyman is Roth's attempt to modernize The Death of Ivan Ilych. Although it lacks the terrible grandeur of Tolstoy's story, Roth's version might be set at a still lower temperature....Perhaps the only weakness in Everyman is that there isn't really, in the end, any argument to keep up — which is another way of saying that Philip Roth has reached the limit of what he can be funny about." Benjamin Markovits, The Times Literary Supplement (read the entire TLS review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Philip Roth's new novel is a candidly intimate yet universal story of loss, regret, and stoicism. The best-selling author of The Plot Against America now turns his attention from "one family's harrowing encounter with history" (New York Times) to one man's lifelong skirmish with mortality.

The fate of Roth's everyman is traced from his first shocking confrontation with death on the idyllic beaches of his childhood summers, through the family trials and professional achievements of his vigorous adulthood, and into his old age, when he is rended by observing the deterioration of his contemporaries and stalked by his own physical woes.

A successful commercial artist with a New York ad agency, he is the father of two sons from a first marriage who despise him and a daughter from a second marriage who adores him. He is the beloved brother of a good man whose physical well-being comes to arouse his bitter envy, and he is the lonely ex-husband of three very different women with whom he's made a mess of marriage. In the end he is a man who has become what he does not want to be.

The terrain of this powerful novel — Roth's twenty-seventh book and the fifth to be published in the twenty-first century — is the human body. Its subject is the common experience that terrifies us all.

Everyman takes its title from an anonymous fifteenth-century allegorical play, a classic of early English drama, whose theme is the summoning of the living to death.

Review:

"What is it about Philip Roth? He has published 27 books, almost all of which deal with the same topics — Jewishness, Americanness, sex, aging, family — and yet each is simultaneously familiar and new. His latest novel is a slim but dense volume about a sickly boy who grows up obsessed with his and everybody else's health, and eventually dies in his 70s, just as he always said he would. (I'm not giving anything away here; the story begins with the hero's funeral.) It might remind you of the old joke about the hypochondriac who ordered his tombstone to read: 'I told you I was sick.' And yet, despite its coy title, the book is both universal and very, very specific, and Roth watchers will not be able to stop themselves from comparing the hero to Roth himself. (In most of his books, whether written in the third person or the first, a main character is a tortured Jewish guy from Newark — like Roth.) The unnamed hero here is a thrice-married adman, a father and a philanderer, a 70-something who spends his last days lamenting his lost prowess (physical and sexual), envying his healthy and beloved older brother, and refusing to apologize for his many years of bad behavior, although he palpably regrets them. Surely some wiseacre critic will note that he is Portnoy all grown up, an amalgamation of all the womanizing, sex- and death-obsessed characters Roth has written about (and been?) throughout his career. But to obsess about the parallels between author and character is to miss the point: like all of Roth's works, even the lesser ones, this is an artful yet surprisingly readable treatise on...well, on being human and struggling and aging at the beginning of the new century. It also borrows devices from his previous works — there's a sequence about a gravedigger that's reminiscent of the glove-making passages in American Pastoral, and many observations will remind careful readers of both Patrimony and The Dying Animal — and through it all, there's that Rothian voice: pained, angry, arrogant and deeply, wryly funny. Nothing escapes him, not even his own self-seriousness. 'Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work,' he has his adman-turned-art-teacher opine about an annoying student. Obviously, Roth himself is a professional." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Philip Roth's 27th novel is a marvel of brevity, admirable for its elegant style and composition (no surprise), but remarkable above all for its audacity and ambition. It seizes unflinchingly on one of the least agreeable subjects in the domain of the novel — the natural deterioration of the body. But beyond that, 'Everyman' can be seen as a bid to engage conclusively with the core anxieties that... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Roth continues exercising his career-defining, clear-eyed, intelligent vision of how the psychology of families works....Perhaps...more readers will find this lean, poignant novel more relevant to themselves." Booklist

Review:

"This risky novel is significantly marred by redundancy and discursiveness...but energized by vivid writing, palpable emotional intensity and several wrenching scenes....A rich exploration of the epiphany that awaits us all — that 'life's most disturbing intensity is death.'" Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"This brilliant little morality play on the ways that our bodies dictate the paths our lives take is vintage Roth; essential for every fiction collection." Library Journal

Review:

"In the course of Everyman Mr. Roth captures the more depressing aspects of aging....But these harrowing evocations of age and infirmity do not a novel make. This book often reads like a laundry list of complaints about the human condition." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Review:

"One of the literary lessons of The Great Gatsby is that in the right hands, a short novel can have deep impact. Everyman...is no instant classic, but it dives similarly deep and makes an indelible impression." Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"It's far from Roth's best work, but it contains flashes of the writing that earned him a Pulitzer Prize in 1997....[A]t the age of 73, he's in excellent health and is at work on yet another novel. That could be good news for readers, even if Everyman is a disappointment." USA Today

Review:

"Everyman is a swift, brutal novel about a heartbreakingly ordinary subject, and it is also testament to Roth that the book leaves you a little breathless and not at all bereft." The Boston Globe

Review:

"The new novel clocks in at a slim 182 pages, yet it is packed densely with observations and recriminations....It is the empathy that Roth creates for this seemingly unsympathetic character that drives the novel to its extraordinary heights." Providence Journal

Review:

"Everyman continues his recent streak of notable books. And although Roth is far from always perfect, the book is further proof he will be remembered and re-read." Minneapolis Star Tribune

Review:

"Everyman is vintage Roth: full of passion, anger and vivid details of lives well lived and profoundly screwed up....Everyman doesn't exactly brim with happy, fun fun. However, fans of serious fiction...know to hunt down other forms of satisfaction." Rocky Mountain News

Synopsis:

"I'm thirty-four! Worry about oblivion, he told himself, when you're seventy-five."

Philip Roth's new novel is a fiercely intimate yet universal story of loss, regret, and stoicism. The best-selling author of The Plot Against America now turns his attention from "one family's harrowing encounter with history" (New York Times) to one man's lifelong confrontation with mortality.

Roth's everyman is a hero whose youthful sense of independence and confidence begins to be challenged when illness commences its attack in middle age. A successful commercial advertising artist, he is the father of two sons who despise him and a daughter who adores him. He is the brother of a good man whose physical well-being comes to arouse his bitter envy. He is the lonely ex-husband of three very different women with whom he has made a mess of marriage. Inevitably, he discovers that he has become what he does not want to be.

Roth has been hailed as "the most compelling of living writers....[His] every book is like a dispatch from the deepest recesses of the national mind." In Everyman, Roth once again displays his hallmark incisiveness. From his first glimpse of death on the idyllic beaches of his childhood summers, through his vigorous, seemingly invincible prime, Roth's hero is a man bewildered not only by his own decline but by the unimaginable deaths of his contemporaries and those he has loved. The terrain of this haunting novel is the human body. Its subject is the common experience that terrifies us all.

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 received 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, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Roth's recent work includes The Human Stain (2000) and The Dying Animal (2001). In 2005 The Plot Against America won the Society of American Historians' award for "the outstanding historical novel on an American theme in 2003–2004." Also in 2005 Philip Roth became the third living American writer to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America. The last of the eight volumes is scheduled for publication in 2013.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Bill Fletcher, April 10, 2013 (view all comments by Bill Fletcher)
After watching the PBS special on Roth last week, I decided it was time to catch up on his work. Everyman is not the Roth I remember. While he's always had a dark, sad undercurrent running through his writing, I was completely unprepared for how unrelentingly despairing this is. It's a short novel but not a fast read by any means. The sentences are complex (again, unlike anything I remember in Roth), the vignettes are troubling, and the hero, if that's what you can call him, is, well, certainly not a mensch. Think Don Draper, without any of the humor and even more of the self-loathing. Am I glad I read Everyman? Definitely. Did I enjoy it? Not sure. But I'm going back and reading more Roth for sure.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Bianca, December 11, 2007 (view all comments by Bianca)
It is no secret that Philip Roth is one of the best contemporary writers.
Being of a similar age as Roth's protagonist, I felt he is writing “me”.
One must have a deep understanding of the psychology of men, in order to create “everyman”, to make him credible and alive as Philip Roth did.
A must for every reader who ever enjoyed reading Roth.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(9 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
achmardi, September 5, 2006 (view all comments by achmardi)
I've heard mixed reviews about this book. Personally, I feel it is undeniably well written and very easy to relate to regardless of age. I admit, though, it terrified me in a way I've never experienced. Being young and healthy, it forced my mind to see life and death in another light, beyond the petty expectations of old age. I'd recommend it to anyone.
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(27 of 46 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 3 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780618735167
Author:
Roth, Philip
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Location:
Boston
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Aging
Subject:
Jewish men
Subject:
Older people
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
May 9, 2006
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
7.5 x 5 x 0.5 in 0.68 lb

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Everyman Used Hardcover
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Product details 192 pages Houghton Mifflin Company - English 9780618735167 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "What is it about Philip Roth? He has published 27 books, almost all of which deal with the same topics — Jewishness, Americanness, sex, aging, family — and yet each is simultaneously familiar and new. His latest novel is a slim but dense volume about a sickly boy who grows up obsessed with his and everybody else's health, and eventually dies in his 70s, just as he always said he would. (I'm not giving anything away here; the story begins with the hero's funeral.) It might remind you of the old joke about the hypochondriac who ordered his tombstone to read: 'I told you I was sick.' And yet, despite its coy title, the book is both universal and very, very specific, and Roth watchers will not be able to stop themselves from comparing the hero to Roth himself. (In most of his books, whether written in the third person or the first, a main character is a tortured Jewish guy from Newark — like Roth.) The unnamed hero here is a thrice-married adman, a father and a philanderer, a 70-something who spends his last days lamenting his lost prowess (physical and sexual), envying his healthy and beloved older brother, and refusing to apologize for his many years of bad behavior, although he palpably regrets them. Surely some wiseacre critic will note that he is Portnoy all grown up, an amalgamation of all the womanizing, sex- and death-obsessed characters Roth has written about (and been?) throughout his career. But to obsess about the parallels between author and character is to miss the point: like all of Roth's works, even the lesser ones, this is an artful yet surprisingly readable treatise on...well, on being human and struggling and aging at the beginning of the new century. It also borrows devices from his previous works — there's a sequence about a gravedigger that's reminiscent of the glove-making passages in American Pastoral, and many observations will remind careful readers of both Patrimony and The Dying Animal — and through it all, there's that Rothian voice: pained, angry, arrogant and deeply, wryly funny. Nothing escapes him, not even his own self-seriousness. 'Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work,' he has his adman-turned-art-teacher opine about an annoying student. Obviously, Roth himself is a professional." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "The upside, of course, is that Roth is the best fiction writer America has ever produced. And Everyman is fiction as calligraphy, a ribbon of memory spun from a single stroke across a couple hundred pages, encircling, and entombing, a life." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review A Day" by , "Let's use a noun I've never used before: masterpiece. Whereas Roth's prize-laden recent fictions are a tad manipulative, in Everyman there is never any sense of a novelist trying to write a novel. Every sentence is urgent, essential, almost nonfictional....Everyman is therefore that rarest of literary achievements: a novel that disappears as it progresses, leaving in one's hands only the matters of life and death it describes." (read the entire Atlantic Monthly review)
"Review A Day" by , "Everyman is in places quite beautiful, illuminated by that fine precision and relative spareness of language that has characterized Roth's work in his late phase. Like some of that work, notably The Human Stain and American Pastoral, it starts well and ends even better, but it leaves the muddle of a middle somewhere behind it, like a sloughed skin....Despite some undeniably moving passages, the novella fails to gather its power: the sum of its parts is not finally as affecting as the parts themselves." (read the entire New Republic review)
"Review A Day" by , "Everyman is Roth's attempt to modernize The Death of Ivan Ilych. Although it lacks the terrible grandeur of Tolstoy's story, Roth's version might be set at a still lower temperature....Perhaps the only weakness in Everyman is that there isn't really, in the end, any argument to keep up — which is another way of saying that Philip Roth has reached the limit of what he can be funny about." (read the entire TLS review)
"Review" by , "Roth continues exercising his career-defining, clear-eyed, intelligent vision of how the psychology of families works....Perhaps...more readers will find this lean, poignant novel more relevant to themselves."
"Review" by , "This risky novel is significantly marred by redundancy and discursiveness...but energized by vivid writing, palpable emotional intensity and several wrenching scenes....A rich exploration of the epiphany that awaits us all — that 'life's most disturbing intensity is death.'"
"Review" by , "This brilliant little morality play on the ways that our bodies dictate the paths our lives take is vintage Roth; essential for every fiction collection."
"Review" by , "In the course of Everyman Mr. Roth captures the more depressing aspects of aging....But these harrowing evocations of age and infirmity do not a novel make. This book often reads like a laundry list of complaints about the human condition."
"Review" by , "One of the literary lessons of The Great Gatsby is that in the right hands, a short novel can have deep impact. Everyman...is no instant classic, but it dives similarly deep and makes an indelible impression."
"Review" by , "It's far from Roth's best work, but it contains flashes of the writing that earned him a Pulitzer Prize in 1997....[A]t the age of 73, he's in excellent health and is at work on yet another novel. That could be good news for readers, even if Everyman is a disappointment."
"Review" by , "Everyman is a swift, brutal novel about a heartbreakingly ordinary subject, and it is also testament to Roth that the book leaves you a little breathless and not at all bereft."
"Review" by , "The new novel clocks in at a slim 182 pages, yet it is packed densely with observations and recriminations....It is the empathy that Roth creates for this seemingly unsympathetic character that drives the novel to its extraordinary heights."
"Review" by , "Everyman continues his recent streak of notable books. And although Roth is far from always perfect, the book is further proof he will be remembered and re-read."
"Review" by , "Everyman is vintage Roth: full of passion, anger and vivid details of lives well lived and profoundly screwed up....Everyman doesn't exactly brim with happy, fun fun. However, fans of serious fiction...know to hunt down other forms of satisfaction."
"Synopsis" by , "I'm thirty-four! Worry about oblivion, he told himself, when you're seventy-five."

Philip Roth's new novel is a fiercely intimate yet universal story of loss, regret, and stoicism. The best-selling author of The Plot Against America now turns his attention from "one family's harrowing encounter with history" (New York Times) to one man's lifelong confrontation with mortality.

Roth's everyman is a hero whose youthful sense of independence and confidence begins to be challenged when illness commences its attack in middle age. A successful commercial advertising artist, he is the father of two sons who despise him and a daughter who adores him. He is the brother of a good man whose physical well-being comes to arouse his bitter envy. He is the lonely ex-husband of three very different women with whom he has made a mess of marriage. Inevitably, he discovers that he has become what he does not want to be.

Roth has been hailed as "the most compelling of living writers....[His] every book is like a dispatch from the deepest recesses of the national mind." In Everyman, Roth once again displays his hallmark incisiveness. From his first glimpse of death on the idyllic beaches of his childhood summers, through his vigorous, seemingly invincible prime, Roth's hero is a man bewildered not only by his own decline but by the unimaginable deaths of his contemporaries and those he has loved. The terrain of this haunting novel is the human body. Its subject is the common experience that terrifies us all.

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