Monday, August 07, 2006

EVERYMAN by Philip Roth (2006)

Roth's 5th novel of the 21st century takes its title from the allegorical early English play about the summoning of the living to death. In it his everyman is a retired advertising executive who lives alone outside of NYC along the Jersey Shore and paints watercolours, an avocation of which he has dreamed. He has three failed marriages behind him, a doting daughter, an iconic older brother and two sons who have alienated him most of their adult lives.

Every word in this 182-page novel counts. Roth manages to get the reader on side from the opening sober scene at the graveyard where the cast gathers to contemplate this life.

"The terrain of this powerful novel is the human body. Its subject is the common experience that terrifies us all."

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