Indignation (Movie Tie-in Edition)

Indignation (Movie Tie-in Edition)

by Philip Roth

Paperback(Media Tie)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525432845
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/26/2016
Series: Vintage International Series
Edition description: Media Tie
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 1,244,981
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(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. He twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He 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.” Roth received PEN’s two most prestigious awards: in 2006 the PEN/Nabokov Award and in 2007 the PEN/Bellow Award for achievement in American fiction. 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. He died in 2018.



Date of Birth:

March 19, 1933

Place of Birth:

Newark, New Jersey


B.A. in English, Bucknell University, 1954; M.A. in English, University of Chicago, 1955

Read an Excerpt

"Under Morphine"

About two and a half months after the well-trained divisions of North Korea, armed by the Soviets and Chinese Communists, crossed the 38th parallel into South Korea on June 25, 1950, and the agonies of the Korean War began, I entered Robert Treat, a small college in downtown Newark named for the city's seventeenth-century founder. I was the first member of our family to seek a higher education. None of my cousins had gone beyond high school, and neither my father nor his three brothers had finished elementary school. "I worked for money," my father told me, "since I was ten years old." He was a neighborhood butcher for whom I'd delivered orders on my bicycle all through high school, except during baseball season and on the afternoons when I had to attend interschool matches as a member of the debating team. Almost from the day that I left the store–where I'd been working sixty-hour weeks for him between the time of my high school graduation in January and the start of college in September–almost from the day that I began classes at Robert Treat, my father became frightened that I would die. Maybe his fear had something to do with the war, which the U.S. armed forces, under United Nations auspices, had immediately entered to bolster the efforts of the ill-trained and under-equipped South Korean army; maybe it had something to do with the heavy casualties our troops were sustaining against the Communist firepower and his fear that if the conflict dragged on as long as World War Two had, I would be drafted into the army to fight and die on the Korean battlefield as my cousins Abe and Dave had died during World War Two. Or maybe the fear had to do with his financial worries: the year before, the neighborhood's first supermarket had opened only a few blocks from our family's kosher butcher shop, and sales had begun steadily falling off, in part because of the supermarket's meat and poultry section's undercutting my father's prices and in part because of a general postwar decline in the number of families bothering to maintain kosher households and to buy kosher meat and chickens from a rabbinically certified shop whose owner was a member of the Federation of Kosher Butchers of New Jersey. Or maybe his fear for me began in fear for himself, for at the age of fifty, after enjoying a lifetime of robust good health, this sturdy little man began to develop the persistent racking cough that, troubling as it was to my mother, did not stop him from keeping a lit cigarette in the corner of his mouth all day long. Whatever the cause or mix of causes fueling the abrupt change in his previously benign paternal behavior, he manifested his fear by hounding me day and night about my whereabouts. Where were you? Why weren't you home? How do I know where you are when you go out? You are a boy with a magnificent future before you–how do I know you're not going to places where you can get yourself killed?

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Indignation 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As funny and bitting as anything he has ever done, with a distinctly sad aftertaste. This easily the best of his four short novels.
theshippingnews More than 1 year ago
I had never read Philip Roth prior to reading Indignation and was pleased with this novel, though I found it an odd piece of writing. In spite of his youth and "seriousness," Messner is an engaging character, if a bit histrionic at moments. The "I am dead" revelation was a it surprising. Maybe more astute readers than I would have seen it coming, but I did not. I don't see what it did to help the novel along. It only served to minimize the sense of foreboding that Roth had been developing up to that point. It's certainly worth reading, though. And I am likely going to try another Philip Roth novel very soon.
piesmom More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed some of Philip Roth's writing but I often find it a little too much and this novel fits that category. I found the novel hard to put down but at the same time I found all of the characters to be more parodies of themselves than believable. I would caution readers to consider this novel more a stury of an odd teenager than a representation of the times or the life of a Jewish teen from Newark in the 50's. That is not to imply there was no anti-semitism but I think Marcus had many unlikeable traits that were the cause of his problems, not the fact that he was Jewish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A stark reminder of the prejudice alive and doing well in the US post WWII. I felt the desperation of the young men of the time to escape entrapment in yet another conflict, and how university leaders maintained the status quo. The description of the "panty raid" grounded the Jewish issue in the conservative morals or our country at the time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I have always loved Philip Roth, I was not prepared for the emotional impact of this brilliant novel. What starts off as a fascinating character study of a teenage boy coming of age in the 1950's under the shadow of the Korean war, becomes a razor sharp dissection of the cultural milieu of that era and, sadly, its parallels in our own. As I began reading the penultimate chapter, I had a visceral reaction. The hair on my arms stood on end, and I literally gasped. I had to read it more than once as the emotional weight of Roth's story hit me like a ton of bricks. The end is both dark and jarring. This is a novel I won't soon forget. Highly recommended.
Maverick More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be an interesting character study of a college youth in the 1950's. I found that the plot in this short novel to be compelling. But don't expect to be cheered up by end of this sobering novel. But if you can handle the truth, I recommend this book.
sushidog on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Another beautifully written novel that left me cold. What am I to take from this? That the 50s were so oppressive that dying in Korea is the only reasonable end for a bright, ambitious, intellectually active teenager? By the end I wondered if it was one of those novels where the whole thing is a joke and I didn't get it.
realbigcat on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I won't repeat the whole story as there are many reviews of this book. I have read many of Philip Roth's books and this one is no different. Excellant writing based on many of his themes including religion and sex. Not his best work but I really enjoyed the story in particular the great meeting between Marcus and the college Dean.
davidrothman on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Although verbose in places, Indignation is witty and engrossing with wonderful caricatures.I spent time in Ohio eons ago, not that far from Sherwood Anderson's old haunts, and enjoyed Philip Roth's depictions of the mythical Winesburg College. Roth lives up to his reputation with hilarious attacks on moralists, blended in with the protagonist's libido-and-ego-driven fondness for defying them. What's more, I enjoyed his clever use of the bleeding motif. Those who've read Indignation will know exactly what I mean; Marcus Messner's story is not for readers who shy from the sight of blood. Fittingly, Marcus's father is a butcher intent on controlling the son's life; quite unintentionally and indirectly, through the events depicted in the novel, he ends it. And one other little detail: Marcus is dead or near-dead at the start of the story. No, my revealing this is not a spoiler; other reviewers have, too. You'll still want to know all the history that lead to Marcus's current condition, and like me, you may be so engrossed in Indignation's plot and characterizations that you really won't care he's already a corpse. I used a somewhat similar technique when I wrote The Solomon Scandals, my Washington newspaper novel---beginning Chapter One with mention of the suicide of one of the journalists, at the Watergate. The "Why?" counts as much as, "What'll happen?"For reasons that I won't discuss here, lest I do spoil things, Indignation should especially appeal to those who came of age during the Vietnam era--even though Korea is the war of the moment.
shadowofthewind on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book is a good demonstration of a young man's fight for individuality against society. It's also a good demonstration of stubborn youth. Marcus Messner is trying to make his way in the world. It is 1951 and he is desperately trying to avoid being drafted during the Korean War, yet still trying to have his own life away from his over protective father. The results are disasterous for the main character. My favorite passages:"Almost from the day I entered robert treat, from the day I graduated high school to the day I entered college, my father became obsessed with the fact that I might die. " "Maybe his fear for me stemmed from a fear for himself. At the age of 50, after enjoying a lifetime of robust good health, this sturdy little man began to develop the persistent rackIng ciugh t at troubling as it was to my mother did not stop him from keeping a lit Cigarette forever at the corner of his mouth all day long. For whatever the cause, or causes fuelIng the abrupt chae in his previously benign eternal behavior he manifested his fear by hounding me day and night about my was as though the father with whom I had been so close during all these years practicallt growi up at his side at the store had no idea of who or what his son was...and crazy with the frightening discovery that a little boy grows up, grows tall ove shadows his parents, and that you can't keep him then. You have to relinquish him to the world. ""I hadn't the stomach to do battle with the dean of menanymore than I had the stomach to do battle with my fathermy roommates, yet battle I did despite myself.""Cartwell was right there will always be somethingdriving you nuts, your father, your roommate, your havingto attend chapel 40 times so stop thinking about transferringto another school and concentrate on graduating as first in your class."
mrstreme on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Indignation is Philip Roth's 25th novel. Sit back and think about that for a moment. What an amazing writing career.I like Philip Roth because he always sweeps me into his story, and that's certainly the case in Indignation. In this short novel, we meet Markus - a straight-A Jewish kid from Newark who transfers to a small, conservative college in Ohio to escape his father's neurotic fears. Markus' dad worries that he will fall into harm's way - that one little misstep will result in great harm. While, as a reader, you shake your head at Dad's irrational thoughts, it provides an interesting foreshadowing of things to come.While at Winesburg College, Markus is knee-deep in classic American ideals ala 1950's America. Big cars, panty raids and required chapel attendance all mark Markus' college experience. Markus has a hard time adjusting to Winesburg life. He's successful at academics but entanglements with his roommates and a fling with a troubled girl all leave Markus reeling from the real-life aspects of being far from  home.With subtle social and political undertones, Indignation is a fast read that is a feast to your mind's eye. This may not be Roth's best work, but it's a good story.
spounds on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Another short book - like "Everyman." I still love the way Roth writes, but he's definitely ticked off at religion.
crazy4novels on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Roth's protagonist, Marcus Messner, is experiencing the painful aspects of college life and young adulthood. Driven to exasperation by his father's constant supervision and overly protective paranoia (Have you been drinking? Have you edited your paper yet? When will you be home?) Marcus has fled his local city college in Newark, New Jersey to attend a pastoral college in faraway Winesburg, Ohio. The year is 1951, and Marcus' continuing education is essential if he is to avoid being drafted and shipped off to Korea (his father's ultimate nightmare).The acute sexual ambivalence that Marcus experiences at Winesburg would probably seem odd to today's college student. He is wildly attracted to the lovely and mysterious Olivia, but he suspects there must be something damaged about her when she willingly accepts his physical advances. Her unexpected gift of oral expertise creates a queasy mix of shock, euphoria, and disgust in Marcus that shakes him to the core and leaves him to conclude that she must be a psychological victim of her parents' divorce (a rare event in those days).On all other fronts, however, Marcus' struggles resonate with those of today's undergraduate. He looks back fondly at his childhood years spent helping his father at the family butcher shop, where his blue collar father taught him the dignity of hard work and the value of committed effort, even when you despise the task. "That's what I learned from my father and what I loved learning from him: that you do what you have to do." College widens Marcus' view, however, and opens his eyes to the myopic parameters of his parents' world. His father chides him into improving a class paper without ever haven written one himself; his long suffering mother desperately wishes "the best" for him without the slightest idea of what "the best" might be in a world outside of Newark. Marcus' frustration at his parents' inability to absorb new ideas or take a broader view of the world is surpassed only by his frustration at their inability to perceive their "benighted state" in the first place.Marcus is forced to deal with class issues (he works as a waiter at the college inn taproom, with socially toxic consequences), disastrous roommate situations (he is too sexually naive to realize that Flusser, his abrasive and verbally abusive suitemate, is desperately attracted to him), and thwarted attempts to reinvent himself (Dean Caudwell pointedly asks Marcus why he put "butcher" down as his father's occupation instead of "kosher butcher.")Above all else, however, Marcus' story conveys the white hot indignation that occurs when a young person's budding conviction about the way things should be in an ideal world conflicts with the arbitrary and ridiculous demands of reality. Marcus is outraged that his own father has so totally misjudged his character as to suspect that he may become an alcoholic or engage in barroom fights. He is furious that his fellow students treat him with contempt and suspicion because he works at the college inn taproom and refuses to join a fraternity (not even the "lame" one). He is incensed by Dean Caudwell's ridiculous assumption that he must be psychologically unbalanced because he prefers to live alone in an attic dorm room. As a matter of fact, he is incensed by Caudwell's power to call him into the dean's office at all; as long as Marcus is a good student, why must he endure Caudwell's prying inquiries into his private life in the first place? Marcus is also driven to distraction by his mother's narrow, single-minded perception of Olivia; once she observes the healed cut marks on Olivia's wrists, she is blind to any other input -- Olivia may as well not have a head.Marcus' indignation reaches a breaking point when he is forced to attend Sunday worship services at the college chapel as part of his graduation requirement. Not content to pay someone to attend the service and sign the attendance record for him (as many students do), he goes head to head wit
brianinbuffalo on LibraryThing 8 months ago
While I agree with those reviewers who suggest that this is not Roth's best work by a mile, I enjoyed "Indignation" nonetheless. In fact, I found it far more captivating than "Portnoy's Complaint," which tended to drag in spots. His new work seems more disciplined (for lack of a better word) and more focused on a telling a coherent coming of age story. Perhaps the scathing reviews in the national press lowered my expectations. But I really enjoyed this work.
mojomomma on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I really enjoyed this book. It read more like a short story than a novel, and reminds me a lot of "Catcher in the Rye," although Marc Messner runs into more dire circumstances than Holden ever did. I'd recommend this book.
staffoa on LibraryThing 8 months ago
It is rare that I read a book that I instantly start texting and e-mailing friends recommending they read it! I know it's an old novel, but for anyone that likes to delve into the human psyche, this is a must-read!
piefuchs on LibraryThing 8 months ago
How do you rate mediocre Roth?Indignation was a novella that focused on the life of an intelligent, Jewish, Newark butcher's son who was coming of age and trying to separate from his past at a midwestern college. There are a number of twists in the plot which make it a fast read - yet, it doesn't make you think as much as typical Roth, there are not quite as many moments when you open your mouth with the wonder of his wording. But, it is still Roth.
bobbieharv on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I liked the beginning of this book, but it deteriorated into one of Roth's lesser efforts and I skimmed it.
ChazzW on LibraryThing 8 months ago
In the first 50 pages of his new novel, Roth breezes right along, relating the story of a young Jewish boy, son of a Newark Kosher butcher, trying to get anonymously by in his studies at a small Midwestern College (the fictional Winesburg) in the days of the Korean Conflict. Just trying to stay out of the war. Just trying to get out from under the smothering influence of his father. Suddenly, in the midst of relating what appears to be his first real sexual encounter, the narrator, Marcus Messner, reveals that he is dead. Only a memory of himself. Suddenly, I¿m reading at quarter speed. An interesting turn. And the thought occurs that writing for Roth is on several levels, but preparation for death.Are all ¿afterlife¿s¿ alike (Roth channeling Chekhov)? Or are they as unique as each individual? And is Judgement Day really an eternity of self-judgement? Dead long since at nineteen, these are the thoughts that Marcus returns to, over and over again. And all because of a 1951 blow-job. Well, this is Philip Roth, after all! And what we have here is Roth¿s Chesil Beach. One thing leads to another, decisions beget consequences, until finally a life is in a place impossible to have predicted. Or a life is terminated.But Roth pulls us back to the story after this short interlude. though now we know that young Marcus Messner is doomed. Inexorably so, It¿s only a matter of how he gets there. Given our foreknowledge, it¿s easy to see each mistake as he makes it. Still, there is a certain suspense, a certain hope against the inevitable, that things will somehow work out. But no sentimentalist he. Roth takes away the suspense of not knowing for sure. But leaves the reader with the greater gift of unfolding tragedy.For Marcus, indignation is ¿the most beautiful word in the English language¿. He¿s culled the word as his personal mantra from the Chinese National Anthem.Indignation fills the hearts of all of our countrymen In times of stress, Marcus gets in touch with his indignation. And it¿s his indignation that is his undoing. Indignation that in another time (¿Historical Note¿) have almost no consequences at all. The second great tragic irony of Roth¿s slender little reminiscence piece. The reason for Marcus¿ escape to a completely foreign culture (Midwestern, Protestant Ohio from Jewish Newark) was to release the binds that his father held over him. His father¿s paranoia about the safety of his son so far from home. The first great irony is that his father turned out to have reason to be concerned - and that he was in some sense right after all.I could have read this book in one sitting - something that I almost never do. As it was, I split it up into two. Not only because of its brevity, but because it is so accessible as a family drama, as a coming-of-age tale (though set in a long lost landscape). Partially because of this, even before publication, the novel¿s movie rights had already been snapped up. Though it may make a good movie, it most assuredly will be a different story than the book. Roth has compassion for all his characters, and leaves the reader to make their own assessments. Though we may understand where his lay, his respect for his reader is always appreciated.
Beej415 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book was a mess. It's the story of a young, blue-collar college man, Marcus, who grows up happily working in his father's butcher shop and idolizing the old man. Then, for reasons that remain unexplained, his father succumbs to traumatic anxiety about his son's future, and ends up questioning every decision of his and Marcus's. Of course, the parental anxiety of letting go is understandable as a motive, but Marcus's father jumps far beyond the ordinary, with no explanation (and no attempt, or even seeming desire, to explain on the part of the author). To find respite from his father's infatuation, Marcus transfers to a college 500 miles from home, where he meets gentiles, homosexuals, easy, mentally tortured girls, and obnoxious fraternity guys. Yet, rather than rebelling with his newfound freedom, Marcus is wedded to his studies, and as he admits, it's all for his parents' sake (which, having detested Holden Caufield, this aspect of Marcus's personality I found quite pleasing).The characters were flat, which seemed to coincide with the lack of thematic development. Many themes were introduced, but were not fleshed out. Unfortunately, in the end, it left me wondering what was the point.While I did not enjoy this story, it is clear that Roth is an excellent writer in terms of style. The story flowed so smoothly that it felt as if I were watching a movie rather than reading a book. I am looking forward to reading another novel by Roth, hopefully one telling a better story.
artistlibrarian on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Roth is always good but sometimes he's really awesome and this is one of those times. It doesn't matterif you went to college in the 50s and 60s or just graduated, you'll get the characters and remember atime just when.There are a lot of political and social commentaries underlying this plot, but you won't feel lectured -like Marcus Messner, the main character, often does. Roth tells Marcus' story from New Jersey native toOhio college student transplant in tandem with the history and culture of 1951 and the Korean War. Itmight be fiction, but you won't feel that's what you're reading.
EpicTale on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Worthy, well-written read -- but I thought the book was incomplete and left loose ends handing. Several of the characters were simply incomplete depictions, and in several places the story simply does not hang together in Roth's usual tight fashion.On the plus side, Roth offered a good exploration of the idea that a person's life can be the result of a small number of supposedly minor decisions, which in retrospect turned out to be hugely significant. Also, I appreciated the author's dabbling with the notion of how some people instinctively run away from conflict, rather than confront it. On the negative side, I was left feeling that Roth had rummaged through his catalog of partially-written stories and decided to publish it for what it was, rather than for what he could make it with additional effort.
TheAmpersand on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Philip Roth's late innings have been about as productive as any writer you could name, but you can't hit a home run every time you step to the plate. To keep that analogy going, let's call "Indignation" a clean single. It's by no means a bad novel, just a familiar one, a decidedly minor novel that's shorter and slighter than one of Roth's many blockbusters. Roth puts us back in mid-century New Jersey again, where Marcus Messner, the son of a kosher butcher, is simultaneously trying to escape the tightening grip of his father's authority and fit in to a college filled with socially conservative gentiles. Roth is usually a deliciously Dostoevskian storyteller, allowing the reader to listen in as a couple of old friends, perhaps lubricated by a couple of drinks, recount events long past. In "Indignation," he changes up this tried-and-true formula, employing a curious narrative device, which I won't reveal here, to tell his story back-to-front. This novel framing device doesn't prove particularly successful. The problem isn't that the reader learns the fate of the novel's protagonist just a few pages in. Who, after all, reads Roth for the suspense? The problem is that "Indignation's" odd set-up robs Roth's writing of a great deal of the causal, tossed-off detail that usually make it such a pleasure to read. The lack of a traditional "audience" for Roth's narrator also seems to rob "Indignation" of the sense of warm familiarity that many Roth's habitual readers have come to expect from his work. No-one could accuse "Indignation" of sloppiness or faulty construction, but it's a hard book to love, and one gets the feeling Roth could have written it in its sleep. It's feels wrong to criticize a great writer for a book that's merely okay, but I'm hoping that Phil swings for the fences his next time at bat.
NoLongerAtEase on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I have read between one third and one half of Philip Roth's novels and Indignation rates among the best of them. Roth is at his best when his obligatory web of lust, Newark, onanism, beautiful Goyim, and half-hearted resistance to WASP culture is constrained by broader and deeper purposes rather than when it is allowed to roam free. Indignation is an instance where Roth has properly constrained his old standards and worked them into something of a backdoor homage to the stoicism of earlier generations of Americans.Roth's Marcus Messner is hoisted by his own petard in large part because he is unwilling to take the lessons of the butcher shop (where he grew up working) out into the Goyish world as such. The even-keeled, studious, well-mannered A student can disembowel a chicken without a second thought but is unable to sit through compulsory chapel service at his mildly stuffy midwestern college.Righteous anger overwhelms Marcus Messner and Roth gives us every reason to empathize with him...but Roth's genius move here is that he leaves us little time to wallow with Marcus in the warm bath of the conscious victim of wrongdoing. Instead, we come to see that Marcus's anger is not only exaggerated but a threat to his own well being. To respond to every injustice one suffers by summoning an army is to take on an insufferable existence. Thus, it's better to choose the important battles and learn to live with a certain amount of injustice in one's life. Purity is overrated, especially when the quest for purity leads, as it ever-so-often does, to oblivion. In large part the lesson of Roth's novel is not new, but it's one that must be hammered home again and again and who better than Roth, certainly no poster-child for restraint, to do so?I also think there is a subtle but no less burning sense of anger operative in these pages . Roth occupies that generation too young to have fought in WWII but too old to have been involved in the 1960s. He has, in many, instances, presented the legacy of the 1960s in a less than positive light. Part of the Faustian bargain of the 1950s was conformity for security; doing and behaving as one must rather than as one wishes. This is was the exchange Marcus Messner was unwilling to make and one that Roth has always been ambivalent about. But never down right negative. Roth's is an internal critique of mid-century American society. He accepts most of its major premises but also sees the absurdities for what they are; by pointing to them he hopes to improve upon the vision, to add a greater degree of internal coherence to a particular vision of American society. He is angry here because he participated in the Faustian exchange only to have the protest movements, the external critiques, the singular destructiveness of the baby out with the bath water mindset of the boomers effectively eviscerate the society he attempted to grudgingly conform to.
blackhornet on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Not vintage Roth but better than the disappointing Exit Ghost, with flashes of his old magic. I was left indignant at what happened to the narrator, Marcus Messner, but I'm not sure the indignation planted throughout the rest of the novel was fierce enough.I do feel Roth is at his best when writing, as here, about the 1950s. Simultaneously he manages to get across the absurd hypocracies of the time with a sense that it was still a better time.A good book from a man who has written many great books.