Patrimony: A True Story

Patrimony: A True Story

by Philip Roth
     
 

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Patrimony, a true story, touches the emotions as strongly as anything Philip Roth has ever written. Roth watches as his eight-six-year-old father—famous for his vigor, his charm, and his repertoire of Newark recollections—battles with the brain tumor that will kill him. The son, full of love, anxiety, and dread, accompanies his father through each

Overview

Patrimony, a true story, touches the emotions as strongly as anything Philip Roth has ever written. Roth watches as his eight-six-year-old father—famous for his vigor, his charm, and his repertoire of Newark recollections—battles with the brain tumor that will kill him. The son, full of love, anxiety, and dread, accompanies his father through each fearful stage of his final ordeal, and, as he does so, discloses the survivalist tenacity that has distinguished his father’s long, stubborn engagement with life.

Philip Roth is hailed by many as the reigning king of American fiction. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, this memoir about love, survival and memory is one of his most intimate books, but also one of his most intellectually vigorous. Patrimony is Roth’s elegy to his father, written with piercing observation and wit at the height of his literary prowess.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Alter ego Nathan Zuckerman doesn't appear in these pages, and neither is there any sleight of hand blurring the line between literature and life. Instead, here is Roth (NBCC Award-winning The Counterlife ) at his most humane as he pens a kaddish to his recently deceased father, Herman. A vigorous 86-year-old, Roth pere wakes up one morning and half his face is paralyzed; soon he is deaf in one ear and the verdict is a benign brain tumor. Surgery is ruled out for the octogenarian, and the author is a helpless, horrified witness to his father's humiliating demise, ``utterly isolated within a body that had become a terrifying escape-proof enclosure, the holding pen in a slaughterhouse.'' In a fast-paced, cogent memoir, Roth, whose filial devotion and awe are tempered with clear-eyed observational powers, ranges far afield and discusses the anti-Semitism of the insurance firm that employed Herman Roth for 40 years; Herman's perfectionism and his latter-day disregard for his wife whom he nevertheless elevated to quasi-sainthood after death; Herman's abandonment of his phylacteries in a locker at the local YMHA; the author's quintuple bypass surgery weeks before his father's death; and Herman's incontinence and the ample size of his genitals. BOMC alternate. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Roth renders his 86-year-old father's final illness in clinical detail muted with compassion and humor. He examines his role as a son faced with unspeakably difficult choices who ultimately becomes aware of the importance of memory and connectedness to one's forebears even (or especially) in such a wrenching situation. He does not idealize the patriarchal figure, but rather comes to accept him as a flawed and genuine person. In discussing spiritual aspects in light of corporeal limitations, Roth enters scarcely charted waters such as the sexuality and day-to-day needs of the elderly. His skill as a novelist comes forth in the dialog and description. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-- Janice Braun, Medical Historical Lib., Yale Univ.
From the Publisher
"A tough-minded, beautifully written memoir. . . . It smacks of honesty and truthfulness on every page." —San Francisco Chronicle

"A deeply resonant portrait of a father and son. . . . Roth has looked past all comfort and condolence to find the truth—about himself and his father; about death and the fear of it; and about the absolute vulnerability to which love condemns us all." —Chicago Tribune

"In a cunningly straightforward way, Patrimony tells one of the central true stories many Americans share nowadays. . . . Such telling is a marvel of artful wit and vigor. . . . It is the triumphant art of the literal . . . the gloriously pragmatic, unpredictable genius of Philip Roth's narrative gifts." —The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781623730062
Publisher:
Odyssey Editions
Publication date:
12/26/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
685,642
File size:
358 KB

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 received 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, and has won the PEN/Faulkner Award three times, the first writer in its history to do so. 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; in 2012 he received Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for Literature.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Connecticut
Date of Birth:
March 19, 1933
Place of Birth:
Newark, New Jersey
Education:
B.A. in English, Bucknell University, 1954; M.A. in English, University of Chicago, 1955

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