Operation Shylock: A Confessionby Philip Roth
In this fiendishly imaginative book (which may or may not be fiction), Philip Roth meets a man who may or may not be Philip Roth. Because someone with that name has been touring Israel, promoting a bizarre reverse exodus of the Jews. Roth is intent on stopping him, even if that means impersonating/i>/i>/i>
Time Magazine Best American Novel (1993)
In this fiendishly imaginative book (which may or may not be fiction), Philip Roth meets a man who may or may not be Philip Roth. Because someone with that name has been touring Israel, promoting a bizarre reverse exodus of the Jews. Roth is intent on stopping him, even if that means impersonating his own impersonator.
With excruciating suspense, unfettered philosophical speculation, and a cast of characters that includes Israeli intelligence agents, Palestinian exiles, an accused war criminal, and an enticing charter member of an organization called Anti-Semites Anonymous, Operation Shylock barrels across the frontier between fact and fiction, seriousness and high comedy, history and nightmare.
Author Biography: In the 1990s Philip Roth won America's four major literary awards in succession: the National Book Critics Circle Award for Patrimony (1991), the PEN/Faulkner Award for Operation Shylock (1993), the National Book Award for Sabbath's Theater (1995), and the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for American Pastoral (1997). He won the Ambassador Book Award of the English-Speaking Union for I Married a Communist (1998); in the same year he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House. Previously he won the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Counterlife (1986) and the National Book Award for his first book, Goodbye, Columbus (1959). In 2000 he published The Human Stain, concluding a trilogy that depicts the ideological ethos of postwar America. For The Human Stain Roth received his second PEN/Faulkner Award as well as Britain's W. H. Smith Award for the Best Book of the Year. In 2001 he received the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in fiction, given every six years "for the entire work of the recipient."
"The uncontested master of comic irony." —Time magazine
"A devilish book, nervously exuding a kind of delirious brilliance like sweat at every pore, and madly comic." —Alfred Kazin
"A brilliant novel of ideas...Roth has gone farther into his own genius than he ever has before." —Ted Solotaroff, The Nation
- Knopf Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.00(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.10(d)
Meet 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. He has twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has won the PEN/Faulkner Award three times. In 2005 The Plot Against America received the Society of American Historians’ Prize for “the outstanding historical novel on an American theme for 2003-2004.” Recently Roth received PEN’s two most prestigious awards: in 2006 the PEN/Nabokov Award and in 2007 the PEN/Bellow Award for achievement in American fiction. Roth is the only living American novelist to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America. In 2011 he received the National Humanities Medal at the White House, and was later named the fourth recipient of the Man Booker International Prize.
- Date of Birth:
- March 19, 1933
- Place of Birth:
- Newark, New Jersey
- B.A. in English, Bucknell University, 1954; M.A. in English, University of Chicago, 1955
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Perhaps Roth's most underrated novel. I was lucky enough to read this novel in Israel, across the street from where Philip Roth the character (Or is he a character?) in the novel was staying. It made for a surreal experience. Roth's voice in "Shylock" is as honed as ever. Perhaps even more so due to the hallucinogens the character takes at the beginning. Others have pointed out that, at its heart, it's a spy novel. This point is well made. I have read much of John le Carre, Ludlum, and Clancy and I must say that they have never kept me on my toes or so far toward the edge of my metaphorical seat than Roth did with this novel. A near infinite amount of twist and turns will keep you pleasantly baffled. The language is spiced. Lovers of Roth's perversity (if it can be called that) will be pleased. At the end of the novel, I wanted to re-read it immediately. It still reigns as my favorite Roth. I think it will be yours as well.
While this was written in 1992, published in 1993, the antagonist in the plot is really the mess that Israel, Roth believes, had become. A prescient expose of what the Palestinian historical presence, and Israel's military response to it, has done to rip apart the soul and purpose of that once idealistic society. And of course the events of the past 11 years have only proven him right. But I primarily recommend the book because Roth is funny, clever, brilliant, can write with great suspense and humor at the same time. He is perhaps, indeed probably, the greatest of all living American novelists, and here is at his very best. And the most impressive thing about him is that recent novels show he is still in peak form nearly 45 years after writing his first bestseller. Operation Shylock is one of his very best.
In 'Operatin Shylock,' the reader enters the mind of Philip Roth as he puts himself as the protagonist in this excellant novel. It can be a tough read, though. However, anyone who loved 'The Counterlife' should definately look into this book!
I realize Roth is considered a master stylist, but OS's plot was strong enough on its own. Mr. Roth needed not to show off his erudition. Recommended for those familiar with Jewish issues/customs.