What if a lookalike stranger stole your name, usurped your biography and went around the world pretending to be you? In this tour de force of fact and fiction, Philip Roth meets a man who may or may not be Philip Roth. Suspenseful, hilarious, hugely impassioned, pulsing with intelligence and narrative energy, Operation Shylock is at once a spy story, a political thriller, a meditation on identity, and a confession.
In 1997 Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts atthe White House and in 2002 the highest award of the AmericanAcademy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction.He twice won the National Book Award and the NationalBook Critics Circle Award. He won the PEN/FaulknerAward three times. In 2005 The Plot Against America receivedthe Society of American Historians’ Prize for “the outstandinghistorical 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 HumanitiesMedal at the White House, and was later named the fourthrecipient 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
Operation Shylock: A Confession 4.3 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Perhaps Roth's most underrated novel.
I was lucky enough to read this novel in Israel, across the street from where Philip Roth the character (Or is he a character?) in the novel was staying. It made for a surreal experience.
Roth's voice in "Shylock" is as honed as ever. Perhaps even more so due to the hallucinogens the character takes at the beginning.
Others have pointed out that, at its heart, it's a spy novel. This point is well made. I have read much of John le Carre, Ludlum, and Clancy and I must say that they have never kept me on my toes or so far toward the edge of my metaphorical seat than Roth did with this novel. A near infinite amount of twist and turns will keep you pleasantly baffled. The language is spiced. Lovers of Roth's perversity (if it can be called that) will be pleased.
At the end of the novel, I wanted to re-read it immediately. It still reigns as my favorite Roth. I think it will be yours as well.
agnesmack on LibraryThing
7 months ago
Philip Roth is the only author I can forgive for 6 page long paragraphs. As my friend Rachel recently said, "He makes language his bitch," and that is certainly true in Operation Shylock: A Confession.On the surface, this book is about a fake Philip Roth, running around Jerusalem, speaking to the press, giving lectures, and otherwise living off the fame of the real Philip Roth. The book though, like all of Roth's, is of course about much more than that.The real story is that of the conflict between Zionists and those who believe in diaspora. And no, I didn't really know much about either of those terms before reading this book. Of the dozen or so Roth novels I've read, this is definitely one of the least accessible, and while I did enjoy it immensely, it was much more academic than many of his novels.This novel taught me things, and it was a shining example of Roth's abilities, but in the end it lacked the heart I need to really get immersed in a novel.
the_awesome_opossum on LibraryThing
7 months ago
Operation Shylock is the story of Philip Roth traveling to Israel to meet his doppelganger, who is posing as the author and promoting Diasporism - that Jews should abandon Israel as an outdated idea and re-establish themselves elsewhere. The real Roth, of course, finds himself mixed up in this agenda, and the book explores the connection between the Jewish identity and the land of Israel, and where exactly a Jew's place in the world *is.* There are no answers offered, only these questions.The book is pretty dense at times in politics and religion, so a background in both would be useful, but even without it Operation Shylock is a good and thought-provoking read.
petercal94 on LibraryThing
7 months ago
This was my introduction to Philip Roth. It's been a while since I read it but I remember being impressed by the writing and clever story construction.
lriley on LibraryThing
7 months ago
An excellent work by an excellent writer. I can say more. Roth confronts his double in the Jewish homeland of Israel using the Demjanjuk nazi war crimes trial to discourse on the state of Israel--from both pro and con viewpoints and also on the Jewish diaspora. After his impersonator has made noise in Israel suggesting a return of European jews to their European roots in effect saving them either from 1) being overrun and exterminated in a second holocaust or 2) being part of a country that has lost all moral credibility having saved itself from annihilation by going nuclear against its enemies the real Roth is reluctantly drawn over to Jerusalem to confront his double. Many twists and turns abound--his being manipulated by an old Palestinian friend from his college days in Chicago and by agents from the Mossad. Having a short time before these events been a victim of a bad prescription that led nearly to a mental breakdown Philip is feeling more than a little fragile, confused and paranoid. Confrontations with ideologues of all stripes including his double--a dead ringer cancer patient and former private detective with a drop dead gorgeous former anti-semite girlfriend abound between disertations on the politics and enmities of the region. Roth strives to maintain reality with some shred of objectivity.One of the most humorous of Roth's works. I'm not sure any other American writer could pull this off with the same elan. Maybe Nathan Englander. It moves along nice and easy from beginning to end with hardly a hitch. There's nothing at all to complain about in terms of ambition, plot, execution or language. For a 400 page work--everything is essential--there is no wastage. For someone who has never read Philip Roth--this would be a good one to begin with.
zip_000 on LibraryThing
7 months ago
It is interesting to note the drastic slow down in my reading; this book - which I would have read in 3-4 days tops a few years ago - took me over 3 weeks. I blame having an 8 month old and having a Wii.Review Proper:I first read Roth in a short story class in college - only about 7 or 8 years ago, and while I enjoyed the story that I read, I didn't follow up on it. In 2005 I came across one of his books in a book store, recognized the name, and bought it. In the 3 years since, I've read all but one or two of his books. In actuality, in 2005-2006 I read all but a few of his books, and then decided to slow down and save the rest for later.All of that is to say that I really enjoy Roth's books. I enjoyed this one no less than the others. This one is fairly similar in style to his later books, but it has all of the identity muddling of his middle period. You're left with the question of, "who is Roth the author and who is Roth the character?"It is tempting to speculate whether any of the story may have actually happened, but I don't think that that is a fruitful avenue.The thing that I really love about his writing is that it is really writing about writing. The supposedly amputated last chapter is a good example.This has been a fairly poor review. Reading really good writing like Roth's makes me painfully aware of my own very poor writing ability.
rdaneel on LibraryThing
11 months ago
Amazing. Deals with questions of identity, mainly Jewish identity. The prose races by, though in the hands of some other writer it would probably plod. Quite funny in places. The characters, I think, are not meant to be sympathetic. I didn't really like any one in the book. Yet I could barely put it down. Highly recommended.
More than 1 year ago
While this was written in 1992, published in 1993, the antagonist in the plot is really the mess that Israel, Roth believes, had become. A prescient expose of what the Palestinian historical presence, and Israel's military response to it, has done to rip apart the soul and purpose of that once idealistic society. And of course the events of the past 11 years have only proven him right. But I primarily recommend the book because Roth is funny, clever, brilliant, can write with great suspense and humor at the same time. He is perhaps, indeed probably, the greatest of all living American novelists, and here is at his very best. And the most impressive thing about him is that recent novels show he is still in peak form nearly 45 years after writing his first bestseller. Operation Shylock is one of his very best.
More than 1 year ago
In 'Operatin Shylock,' the reader enters the mind of Philip Roth as he puts himself as the protagonist in this excellant novel. It can be a tough read, though. However, anyone who loved 'The Counterlife' should definately look into this book!
More than 1 year ago
I realize Roth is considered a master stylist, but OS's plot was strong enough on its own. Mr. Roth needed not to show off his erudition. Recommended for those familiar with Jewish issues/customs.
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