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Posted March 9, 2000
Form without real substance
I greatly enjoy Phillip Roth's writing style, and strongly recommend 'Portnoy's Complaint' and 'American Pastoral', both available in audiotape versions. Mr. Roth's writing style is again evident in 'I married a communist' with excellent word choice and an ability to recreate the feelings behind his characters words. Ron Silver's reading helps too. No complaints about the reading, I liked it fine. This novel is narrated from the piont of view of Nathan Zuckerman, but is about some obscure character named Ira, and his brother, wife, stepdaughter, army buddies, etc. Poor Ira suffers from Marfans syndrome, an affliction that makes him loook like Abe Lincoln, and requires that he get a special kind of massage three times a week. But I had a real hard time making out a storyline or plot throughout most of the work. The timeline shifts back and forth, but for no apparent reason. Maybe it would have made more sense if Mr. Roth stuck to chronological order, but that would not be his style. I got the sense that I came in on the middle of an evolving story, and by the time I thought I had a handle on who was who and what was going on, the novel was over. And it's a long novel. I had a hard time enjoying it, and it got boring. I hate to have to say that, because Phillip Roth is far and away my favorite author. I will buy his next work anyway, I am sure, if there is one. Can't highly recommend this one, though.
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