Poetry Madness
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Q&A | February 27, 2014

Rene Denfeld: IMG Powell’s Q&A: Rene Denfeld



Describe your latest book. The Enchanted is a story narrated by a man on death row. The novel was inspired by my work as a death penalty... Continue »
  1. $18.19 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Enchanted

    Rene Denfeld 9780062285508

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$10.95
List price: $26.00
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
6 Burnside Literature- A to Z
2 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z
9 Local Warehouse Literature- A to Z

Nemesis

by

Nemesis Cover

ISBN13: 9780547318356
ISBN10: 0547318359
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

 

Review-A-Day

"A writer's late books, beset by flagging energy and invention, rarely add major works to the literary legacy. But they can be fascinating as they revisit earlier themes with fresh lenses: a pitiless awareness of aging, an encroaching sense of mortality. Roth's recent novels are obsessed with death but also focus on all that can lead up to it, illness of every kind, waning physical powers, impotence, as well as also memory loss, loneliness, and depression. Sometimes these books are salted with anger at the young, simply for being young, having all that time ahead of them, but they also pulse with sexual attraction to the young, also for being young." Morris Dickstein, The Daily Beast (Read the entire Daily Beast review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In the "stifling heat of equatorial Newark," a terrifying epidemic is raging, threatening the children of the New Jersey city with maiming, paralysis, lifelong disability, and even death. This is the startling theme of Philip Roths wrenching new book: a wartime polio epidemic in the summer of 1944 and the effect it has on a closely knit, family-oriented Newark community and its children. At the center of Nemesis is a vigorous, dutiful twenty-three-year-old playground director, Bucky Cantor, a javelin thrower and weightlifter, who is devoted to his charges and disappointed with himself because his weak eyes have excluded him from serving in the war alongside his contemporaries. Focusing on Cantors dilemmas as polio begins to ravage his playground—and on the everyday realities he faces—Roth leads us through every inch of emotion such a pestilence can breed: the fear, the panic, the anger, the bewilderment, the suffering, and the pain. Moving between the smoldering, malodorous streets of besieged Newark and Indian Hill, a pristine childrens summer camp high in the Poconos—whose "mountain air was purified of all contaminants"—Roth depicts a decent, energetic man with the best intentions struggling in his own private war against the epidemic. Roth is tenderly exact at every point about Cantors passage into personal disaster, and no less exact about the condition of childhood. Through this story runs the dark questions that haunt all four of Roths late short novels, Everyman, Indignation, The Humbling, and now Nemesis: What kind of accidental choices fatally shape a life? How does the individual withstand the onslaught of circumstance?

Review:

"Roth continues his string of small, anti — Horatio Alger novels (The Humbling; etc.) with this underwhelming account of Bucky Cantor, the young playground director of the Chancellor Avenue playground in 1944 Newark. When a polio outbreak ravages the kids at the playground, Bucky, a hero to the boys, becomes spooked and gives in to the wishes of his fiancée, who wants him to take a job at the Pocono summer camp where she works. But this being a Roth novel, Bucky can't hide from his fate. Fast-forward to 1971, when Arnie Mesnikoff, the subtle narrator and one of the boys from Chancellor, runs into Bucky, now a shambles, and hears the rest of his story of piercing if needless guilt, bad luck, and poor decisions. Unfortunately, Bucky's too simple a character to drive the novel, and the traits that make him a good playground director--not very bright, quite polite, beloved, straight thinking--make him a lackluster protagonist. For Roth, it's surprisingly timid. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)

Synopsis:

A new novel by the legendary author.

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Eric Forman, September 6, 2011 (view all comments by Eric Forman)
Roth is still at the top of his game. A heartbreaking story - truly compelling fiction.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Tyler Jones, January 3, 2011 (view all comments by Tyler Jones)
Philip Roth reimagines history like no other author alive. He takes true events and displaces them, adding his own blend of imagination and plausibility.
Though "Nemesis" is placed in the same category in Roth's bibliography as "Everyman", "Indignation", and "The Humbling", it actually falls closer to "The Plot Against America" in terms of plot and style.

There was no polio epidemic in New Jersey in 1945, but Roth imagines one, and then proceeds to tell us of its devastating effects, not just on those stricken with the disease, but also a young man who witnesses these events. Bucky Cantor is a twenty-three year Physical Education teacher, and unlike some of Roth's other heros, is not a tormented intellectual, but rather a solid individual, truly injured at what is happening to the children around him. Gradually, as the epidemic spreads, Bucky begins asking himself questions for which there are no answers.

This is one of the first books in which some of Philip Roth's infamous outrage is directed at the divine. In past novels, it is almost always men and women (usually women) who are the source of the protagonist's crises. But this time, the nemesis is a disease, a germ which cannot be killed at this point in history. It is nameless, faceless, and silent. Roth recognizes that we as human beings require an enemy, someone to blame for the inexplicable happenings in our lives. Who better than God to point the finger at when young children, not old enough to yet be stained by guilt, are ravaged by pain and then die? There is an extremely powerful passage that takes place at a funeral in which Bucky begins to harbor his doubt of the Almighty.

Rather than summarize the plot, I will say that Fate in this novel is a blood hound on the scent of our young hero. A sensitive man who cannot understand why God would allow such suffering.

In the later short novels, Roth has been a writer obsessed with Death and its various forms, both self inflicted and random. How we view life through the lens of impending Death is the subject of "Nemesis" - an apt title considering the hero is uncertain who the enemy is. Is it God, Fate, himself, the disease? Or is it simply Life, that chews us up and spits us out, mindful of no one?

The prose, as always, is some of the most precise in the English language. Roth is an author sure of himself and his abilities and "Nemesis" is a worthy addition to the Roth cannon.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
Tisa, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Tisa)
Once again Philip Roth has captured the essence of a time, place, and community in his latest novel, Nemesis. The voices of children, their parents, and their much admired coach-teacher are distinct and telling as they reveal a time in American history when fear determined behavior, attitudes, and events. Polio's indiscriminate attack on Newark's playgrounds in 1944 changed the way neighborhoods interacted in profound ways. This is the story of one coach/teacher who tried to fight the fear but failed to find the right target. Plan time to read this book from cover to cover in one sitting.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780547318356
Author:
Roth, Philip
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH)
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20101031
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
7.5 x 5 in 1 lb

Other books you might like

  1. The Finkler Question
    Used Trade Paper $3.95
  2. Master of Disguises Sale Hardcover $8.48
  3. Encounter
    Used Hardcover $5.95

Related Subjects

» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Nemesis Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780547318356 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Roth continues his string of small, anti — Horatio Alger novels (The Humbling; etc.) with this underwhelming account of Bucky Cantor, the young playground director of the Chancellor Avenue playground in 1944 Newark. When a polio outbreak ravages the kids at the playground, Bucky, a hero to the boys, becomes spooked and gives in to the wishes of his fiancée, who wants him to take a job at the Pocono summer camp where she works. But this being a Roth novel, Bucky can't hide from his fate. Fast-forward to 1971, when Arnie Mesnikoff, the subtle narrator and one of the boys from Chancellor, runs into Bucky, now a shambles, and hears the rest of his story of piercing if needless guilt, bad luck, and poor decisions. Unfortunately, Bucky's too simple a character to drive the novel, and the traits that make him a good playground director--not very bright, quite polite, beloved, straight thinking--make him a lackluster protagonist. For Roth, it's surprisingly timid. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Review A Day" by , "A writer's late books, beset by flagging energy and invention, rarely add major works to the literary legacy. But they can be fascinating as they revisit earlier themes with fresh lenses: a pitiless awareness of aging, an encroaching sense of mortality. Roth's recent novels are obsessed with death but also focus on all that can lead up to it, illness of every kind, waning physical powers, impotence, as well as also memory loss, loneliness, and depression. Sometimes these books are salted with anger at the young, simply for being young, having all that time ahead of them, but they also pulse with sexual attraction to the young, also for being young." (Read the entire Daily Beast review)
"Synopsis" by ,
A new novel by the legendary author.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.