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Like Pushkin and Dostoevsky before him, Philip Roth takes on the subject of the writer’s double, which for Roth is inevitably bound up in Jewishness and identity. This is a bold, inventive and energetic departure from his past novels, a meta-novel, and, like all of his writing, full of ideas, wit, humor and startling observation.
In this fiendishly imaginative, dizzyingly paced bestseller, Philip Roth meets a man who may or may not be Philip Roth. Someone with that name has been touring the State of Israel, promoting a bizarre exodus in reverse, and it is up to Roth to stop him--even if that means impersonating his impersonator.
"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
Posted February 11, 2013
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.
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Posted November 28, 2003
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 10, 2001
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!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 16, 1999
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.
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