The Humbling

The Humbling

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Overview

The Humbling by Philip Roth, Dick Hill



Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth’s startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, "are melted into air, into thin air." When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. "Something fundamental has vanished." His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can’t persuade him to make a comeback.

Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day’s journey into night, told with Roth’s inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life’s performances—talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation—are stripped off.

The Humbling is Roth’s thirtieth book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781441801005
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication date: 11/02/2009
Edition description: Library Edition
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About 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, 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. 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 prizes: in 2006 the PEN/Nabokov Award and in 2007 the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for achievement in American fiction. Roth is the only living American writer to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America.

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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The Humbling 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
Once a star, the actor has lost his mojo, and ends up hospitalized in a mental health facility. Phillip Roth's novella, which could easily be read in under 2 hours, takes us on a misogynistic adventure where the women continually fail. Axler's wife has left him, so he takes up with a lesbian named Pejeen, over 20 years his junior. She, in turn, has left her lover because the latter wanted to be a man. En route, Pejeen obtains a job by sleeping with the dean whom she will shortly jilt for Axler. The tale goes from there and the reader is witness to some very intimate moments. One gets to see the pain that Axler feels, and maybe wishes he could get himself together to resume his career. But the individual reader may ultimately wonder why he or she should care at all for any of the characters, and that decision probably decides how much the story is enjoyed. For me, it was a quick read, so I saw it through, but I didn't feel enriched for the experience.
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Peter52 More than 1 year ago
Roth is writing about himself again, his fears of getting physically old, perhaps of being alone. The book s sexy at times, very titillating. The main character is a bit younger than Roth, as I am. I can relate to much of the character's worries about aging, etc. Anything Roth writes is worth reading. This doesn't quite measure up to many of his earlier works. My favorites: Sabbath's Theater, American Pastoral, and The Counterlife. Indignation, a recent work by him and also a slim volume, is superior to this one.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A less interesting Roth, still written in his superb style. A failed aging actor, whose life is re-invigorated when he falls in love with a lesbian, is surprised when she reciprocates his interest. Why this happens, and the people whose lives are affected, make up the heart of the novel. The ending, which takes place almost on the last page, is a brilliant plot invention. (Parenthetically, an absurd orgy that is not essential to the plot, was selected among the worst portrayals of sex in 2009. It is always satisfying when exceptionalism is recognized)
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Revzak61 More than 1 year ago
After buying this book as a cheap trial of the Nook eBook reader, I was unable to read it on the computer MacBook Pro without entering my name and credit card information each time I opened it. It would not show-up on my iPod Touch. The best tech support could offer was a refund. I removed the application from the computer, the app from the iPod, and crossed the Nook off the list of possible products and pretty much did the same with B&N as a book resource. I was trying to choose between the Nook and an iPad. The Nook might be a good device but the app is a waste of time. B&N's support is wonderful. They are the best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not what I expected. Boring reading!!