“In Indignation [Roth’s] power and intensity seem undiminished . . . Of all Roth's recent novels, it ventures farthest into the unknowable. In his unshowy way, with all his quotidian specificity and merciless skepticism, Roth is attempting to storm heaven–an endeavor all the more desperately daring because he seems dead certain it's not there.” –David Gates, The New York Times Book Review
“A triumph.” –USA Today
“It is Roth's virtuoso skill to couple Marcus's companionable pleasure in part-time butchering with his nightmare that the knives he wields so dexterously will be used on himself.” –The Boston Globe
“As always, the prose is well built– sinewy and graceful–and, as always, the wit is as sharp as a German knife. There are simply no novels by Roth in which you cannot detect the hand of a master.” – O, The Oprah Magazine
“Terrific . . . there's a lovely perplexedness to the writing here.” –GQ
“He is a master. And the short form serves the story: The shocking rush from this book comes from watching Roth expertly and quickly build up to a half-dozen final pages that absolutely deliver the kill.” –Entertainment Weekly
“The interplay between a life just begun and ended, impulse and reflection, college high jinks and eternity is what makes it resonate.” – People, 4 out of 4 stars
“Of how many writers can it be said that they're still producing some of their best work well into their 70s? With [Indignation], his 24th novel, Philip Roth proves beyond any dispute that he deserves to be counted in that select group.” –BookPage
“Mr. Roth is a master magician who can make the same old rabbits do new tricks.” –The New York Sun
“Mesmerizing . . . Philip Roth’s intrepid novel of self-revelation demands to be read in one sitting. It’s that good. It’s that audacious. It’s that compelling.” –Seattle Times
“Roth, blending the bawdy exuberance of his early period and the disenchantment of his recent work, demonstrates with subtle mastery, the 'incomprehensible way one's most banal, incidental, even comical choices achieve the most disproportionate result'.” –The New Yorker
“As sharply honed as one of those butcher-shop knives that haunt Marcus's dreams . . . Hard to forget.” –Newsweek
“A magnificent display of writerly talent: a lean, powerful novel with bold characters who command attention, scenes of impressive dramatic interest and comic vitality, language that blasts the reader's cozy complacency . . . and a theme that swells imperceptibly from a murmur to a satisfying roar . . . Read Indignation–read it with a ear for the naked power of Philip Roth at full tilt.” –The New York Observer
“Copies of Indignation, Philip Roth's ferocious little tale, ought to be handed out on college campuses along with condoms and tetanus shots . . . Here's a novel to be witnessed as an explosion from an author still angry enough to burn with adolescent rage and wise enough to understand how self-destructive that rage can be.” –Washington Post Book World
“Does anybody else writing prose today sustain a conversation with the reader as beautifully as Roth, with his whirlwind of shouts, whispers, riffs and exposition?. . . . Roth returns with ‘Indignation’ and Virtuosity.” –Oscar Villalon, Books We Like, NPR
“Indignation is a glorious act of chutzpah on the part of arguably the most fearless American novelist working today.” –Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“It's that final twist of the knife that makes the book so powerful, and leaves you feeling unstrung when you put it down.” –Bloomberg News
“Roth balances the darkness with sharp, comic irony . . . In Indignation, Roth has reached back to Newark to breath new life into all the old obsessions.” –Associated Press
“Written in elegant, economical prose. . . . intensely psychological. . . . utterly engrossing.” –Times Literary Supplement (London)
“A late masterpiece. . . . Indignation is Philip Roth's best novel since The Counterlife . . . Intricately wrought, passionate and fascinating.” –Financial Times (London)
On the other side of the world, the Korean War is raging, but Marcus Messner's thoughts are occupied instead with the rants of his frightened father, an earnest, slightly paranoid butcher in gritty Newark. Unnerved by his dad's intensity, young Marcus escapes to the pastoral confines of conservative Winesburg College in Ohio. There he experiences a midwestern rite of passage not easily imagined by a quiet New Jersey teenager. Another carefully sculpted novel by Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner Philip Roth.
Copies of Indignation, Philip Roth's ferocious little tale, ought to be handed out on college campuses along with condoms and tetanus shots. This cathartic story might vent some of the volatile self-righteousness that can consume the lives of passionate young people (and, yes, old people too). It's not that it breaks any new ground; the author's favorite themes are all herethe comic sexual frustration of Portnoy's Complaint, the assimilation anxieties of the Zuckerman books, the enraged grievance of The Human Stainbut with Indignation, Roth presents his most concentrated parable of self-destructive fury…Here's a novel to be witnessed as an explosion from an author still angry enough to burn with adolescent rage and wise enough to understand how self-destructive that rage can be.
The Washington Post
…a darkly comic exercise in the danger of self-fulfilling prophecies and the folly of thinking that being a hard-working A student will offer any sort of protection from the mad vagaries of fate.
The New York Times
Roth's secret, I think, is his supreme confidence as a storytellerand, paradoxically, a supreme humility. His writing is at the service of his story and characters; he’s a pragmatist, not a belletrist. If certain conventions of plot and language do the job, why get fancy? He can break out the fine writing when the occasion requires…The unnamed protagonist of Everyman at least gets a joyous flash of himself as a boy at the ocean before the lights go out; Indignation makes even that terminally grim book seem sentimental. Everyman and Exit Ghost both have a mood of sorrowful resignation; this book goes about its grieving savagely. And of all Roth's recent novels, it ventures farthest into the unknowable. In his unshowy way, with all his quotidian specificity and merciless skepticism, Roth is attempting to storm heavenan endeavor all the more desperately daring because he seems dead certain it's not there.
The New York Times Book Review
Roth's 29th book tells the tale of young Marcus Messner, a boy forced to attend a pastoral, conservative college because of his father's apprehensions about life in 1951 New Jersey. Narrator Dick Hill delivers a sturdy performance that manages to bring Messner to life, but never really captures the listeners attention as he normally does. As talented as Hill is, there's something lacking in his characterization. He reads with a droning, slightly whiny voice that sometimes grates. Hill always seems on the verge of losing himself into the tale only to yank himself back from the edge at the last moment. He has a knack for bringing characters to life, but here he sounds tired. A Houghton Mifflin hardcover (Reviews, May 12). (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Pulitzer Prize winner Roth returns to the territory of his first novel, Goodbye Columbus, in his 29th book, set in 1951 at a conservative Ohio college campus against the ever-present shadow of the early Korean War. Three-time Audie Award winner Dick Hill's accents and emotions are amazing in their realism; he takes listeners on a roller coaster ride of the incredible sadness and indignation of the short life of New Jersey-born protagonist Marcus Messner. A worthwhile listen, but the graphic descriptions of sex and sexual acts and preponderance of swearing don't recommend this to the sensitive listener. [Scott Rudin has acquired the film rights; the Houghton Harcourt hc received a starred review, LJ9/1/08.-Ed.]
Scott R. DiMarco
In a plot that evokes the author's earlier work, Roth (Exit Ghost, 2007, etc.) focuses on a young man's collegiate coming of age against the deadly backdrop of the Korean War. The book has a taut, elegant symmetry: A nice Jewish boy named Marcus Messner from Newark, N.J., reaches the turbulent stage where he inevitably clashes with his parents, his butcher-shop father in particular. After continuing to live at home for his first year of college, Marcus, the novel's narrator as well as protagonist, feels the need to emancipate himself by enrolling in a college as unlike urban New Jersey as possible, one that he finds in Winesburg, Ohio. Whatever of his Jewishness he is trying to escape, he discovers that his ethnicity provides the stamp of his identity on the pastoral campus, where he is first assigned to room with two of the school's few other Jewish students and soon finds himself courted by the school's lone Jewish fraternity. There's resonance of the culture clash of Goodbye, Columbus (1959) and the innocence of The Ghost Writer (1979) in the voice of this bright young man, who isn't quite experienced enough to know how much he doesn't know. The novel reaches its climax-in a couple of senses-when the virginal Marcus becomes involved with the more experienced Olivia, whose irresistible sexuality seems intertwined with her psychological fragility. Can Marcus be Olivia's boyfriend and still be his parents' son? Can he remain true to himself-whatever self that may be-while adhering to the tradition and dictates of a college that shields him from enlistment in a deadly war? Is Winesburg a refuge or an exile?A twist in narrative perspective reinforces this novel's timelessness. Agent: JeffPosternak/The Wylie Agency