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Zuckerman Unbound [NOOK Book]

Overview


The sensationalizing sixties are coming to an end, and even writing a novel can make you a star.  The writer Nathan Zuckerman publishes his fourth book, an aggressive, abrasive, and comically erotic novel entitled Carnovsky, and all at once he is on the cover of Life, one of the decade's most notorious celebrities.This is the same Nathan Zuckerman who in Philip Roth's much praised The Ghost Writer was the dedicated young apprentice drawing sustenance from the great books and the integrity of their ...
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Zuckerman Unbound

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Overview


The sensationalizing sixties are coming to an end, and even writing a novel can make you a star.  The writer Nathan Zuckerman publishes his fourth book, an aggressive, abrasive, and comically erotic novel entitled Carnovsky, and all at once he is on the cover of Life, one of the decade's most notorious celebrities.This is the same Nathan Zuckerman who in Philip Roth's much praised The Ghost Writer was the dedicated young apprentice drawing sustenance from the great books and the integrity of their authors.  Now in his mid-thirties, Zuckerman, a would-be recluse despite his fame, ventures out on the streets of Manhattan, and not only is he assumed to be his own fictional satyr, Gilbert Carnovsky ("Hey, you do all that stuff in that book?"), but he also finds himself the target of admirers, admonishers, advisers, and would-be literary critics.  The recent murders of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., lead an unsettled Nathan Zuckerman to wonder if "target" may be more than a figure of speech.Yet, streetcorner recognition and media notoriety are the least disturbing consequences of writing Carnovsky.  Against his best interests, the newly renowned novelist retreats from his oldest friends, breaks his marriage to a virtuous woman, and damages, perhaps irreparably, his affectionate connection to his younger brother and his family.  Even when finally he lives out the fantasies of his fans and enjoys an exhilarating night with the beautiful and worldly film star Caesara O'Shea (a rather more capable celebrity), he is dismayed the following morning by the caliber of the competition up in the erotic big leagues.In some of Zuckerman Unbound's funniest episodes Zuckerman endures the blandishments of another New Jersey boy who has briefly achieved his own moment of stardom.  He is the broken and resentful fan Alvin Pepler, in the fifties a national celebrity on the TV quiz show "Smart Money."  Thrust back into obscurity when headlined scandals forced the quiz show off the air, Pepler now attaches himself to Zuckerman and won't let go--an "Angel of Manic Delights" to the amused novelist (who momentarily sees him as his "pop self"), and yet also the likely source of a demonic threat.But the surprise that fate finally delivers is more devilish than any cooked up by Alvin Pepler, or even by Zuckerman's imagination.  In the coronary-care unit of a Miami Hospital, Nathan's father bestows upon his older son not a blessing but what seems to be a curse.  And, in an astonishingly bitter final turn, a confrontation with his brother opens the way for the novelist's deep and painful understanding of the deathblow that Carnovsky has dealt to his own past.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Both these novels follow protagonist Nathan Zuckerman through different times in his lifeGhost Writer, dubbed a "glowing work of fiction" by LJ's reviewer (LJ 9/1/79), introduced the character in his youth, while 1981's Unbound offers him in his mid-30s. Roth's many fans will be happy to see these again.
From the Publisher
"It was bold of Roth to write a novel about being famous...a comic stroll in a hall of mirrors." —Newsweek

"[Roth's] narrative hand is wonderfully sure, his comic timing worthy of the Ritz Brothers.... Not since Henry MIller has anyone learned to be as funny and compassionate and brutal and plaintive in the space of a paragraph." —Village Voice

"Zuckerman Unbound is masterful, sure in every touch, as clear and economical of line as a crystal vase." —The New York TImes Book Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466846456
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 7/2/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 225
  • Sales rank: 384,502
  • File size: 455 KB

Meet the Author

Philip Roth

Philip Roth was born in New Jersey in 1933.  He studied literature at Bucknell University and the University of Chicago.  His first book, Goodbye, Columbus, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1960.  He has lived in Rome, London, Chicago, New York City, Princeton, and New England.  Since 1955, he has been on the faculties of the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania, where is now Adjunct Professor of English.  He is also General Editor of the Penguin Books series "Writers from the Other Europe."  Recently he has been spending half of each year in Europe, traveling and writing.

Biography

Philip Roth's long and celebrated career has been something of a thorn in the side of the writer. As it is for so many, fame has been the proverbial double-edged sword, bringing his trenchant tragic-comedies to a wide audience, but also making him a prisoner of expectations and perceptions. Still, since 1959, Roth has forged along, crafting gorgeous variations of the Great American Novel and producing, in addition, an autobiography (The Facts) and a non-fictional account of his father's death (Patrimony: A True Story).

Roth's novels have been oft characterized as "Jewish literature," a stifling distinction that irks Roth to no end. Having grown up in a Jewish household in a lower-middle-class sub-section of Newark, New Jersey, he is incessantly being asked where his seemingly autobiographical characters end and the author begins, another irritant for Roth. He approaches interviewers with an unsettling combination of stoicism, defensiveness, and black wit, qualities that are reflected in his work. For such a high-profile writer, Roth remains enigmatic, seeming to have laid his life out plainly in his writing, but refusing to specify who the real Philip Roth is.

Roth's debut Goodbye, Columbus instantly established him as a significant writer. This National Book Award winner was a curious compendium of a novella that explored class conflict and romantic relationships and five short stories. Here, fully formed in Roth's first outing, was his signature wit, his unflinching insightfulness, and his uncanny ability to satirize his character's situations while also presenting them with humanity. The only missing element of his early work was the outrageousness he would not begin to cultivate until his third full-length novel Portnoy's Complaint -- an unquestionably daring and funny post-sexual revolution comedy that tipped Roth over the line from critically acclaimed writer to literary celebrity.

Even as Roth's personal relationships and his relationship to writing were severely shaken following the success of Portnoy's Complaint, he continued publishing outrageous novels in the vein of his commercial breakthrough. There was Our Gang, a parodic attack on the Nixon administration, and The Breast, a truly bizarre take on Kafka's Metamorphosis, and My Life as a Man, the pivotal novel that introduced Roth's literary alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman.

Zuckerman would soon be the subject of his very own series, which followed the writer's journey from aspiring young artist with lofty goals to a bestselling author, constantly bombarded by idiotic questions, to a man whose most important relationships have all but crumbled in the wake of his success. The Zuckerman Trilogy (The Ghost Writer, Zuckerman Unbound, and The Counterlife) directly paralls Roth's career and unfolds with aching poignancy and unforgiving humor.

Zuckerman would later reemerge in another trilogy, although this time he would largely be relegated to the role of narrator. Roth's American Trilogy (I Married a Communist, the PEN/Faulkner Award winning The Human Stain, and The Plot Against America), shifts the focus to key moments in the history of late-20th –century American history.

In Everyman (2006) , Roth reaches further back into history. Taking its name from a line of 15th-century English allegorical plays, Everyman is classic Roth -- funny, tragic, and above all else, human. It is also yet another in a seemingly unbreakable line of critical favorites, praised by Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and The Library Journal.

In 2007's highly anticipated Exit Ghost, Roth returned Nathan Zuckerman to his native Manhattan for one final adventure, thus bringing to a rueful, satisfying conclusion one of the most acclaimed literary series of our day. While this may (or may not) be Zuckerman's swan song, it seems unlikely that we have seen the last Philip Roth. Long may he roar.

Good To Know

Before publishing his first novel, Roth wrote an episode of the suspenseful TV classic Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

A film adaptation of American Pastoral is currently in the works. Australian director Phillip Noyce (Rabbit Proof Fence; Patriot Games) is on board to direct.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Philip Milton Roth
    2. Hometown:
      Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 19, 1933
    2. Place of Birth:
      Newark, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Bucknell University, 1954; M.A. in English, University of Chicago, 1955

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