Thursday, November 19, 2009

Currently Reading - November 18, 2009

I finished Philip Roth's The Humbling last night. This short little book seems to be getting very mixed reviews, and I can see why. Roth, who is well into his seventies, seems to be focusing on themes of aging, loss, legacy, and sex with younger women, none of which seems unreasonable to me, I suppose. I am no prude by any means, but the specific sexual content of this one seemed a bit weird and gratuitous. Without going into detail, my main impression of this book is that it was finely crafted for what it is, but it lacked any real substance and impact. It felt to me like this was more of an outline for a much larger work rather than a complete work on its own merit, and the white spaces left for the reader to fill in were too much to ask.

Of Roth's recent works, I liked Everyman and Indignation better. Exit Ghost I have intentionally not read, because I want to read the Zuckerman books in order and I would need to read The Anatomy Lesson and The Prague Orgy before this...

All in all, given that this little tidbit can probably be read in little more than one solid uninterrupted hour, it is worth a read. Some people loved it. If nothing else, it is an interesting view into the aging mind of one of our great writers. 3 stars out of 5.

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