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Posted October 15, 2002
I have read close to twenty of Roth's book, and this seems to me after Portnoy's Complaint and perhaps passages in American Pastoral to be his finest work. Somehow the games and cleverness , the brilliance of Roth seem less like an idle entertainment here and more like " the real mc- coy "His portrait of his eighty - six year old father , a ' live wire ' on all occasions brims with love and resentment , admiration and anger. His connection with his father also brings him into truer touch with himself .And there is a kind of poetic justice in the physical collapse which is his emotional response to his own father's dying. I somehow wish Roth had toward the end of the book struck a more reverential note, but apparently his soul is in mocking and defiance . Nonetheless and with it all I can think of few books which tell father - son relationships ( the incomparable Kafka's "Letter to my Father " is the first of them ) in such a deep and heart - rending way.
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Posted December 21, 2008
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