Friday, December 28, 2007

EXIT GHOST by Philip Roth (2007)

There is no finer contemporary American novelist than Philip Roth. He won me over with THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA and has kept me going through THE HUMAN STAIN, EVERYMAN and now EXIT GHOST, the final Nathan Zuckerman novel. He writes about aging and the betrayals of the body with honesty and directness.

In EXIT GHOST, Zuckerman--entrenched in his 70s--returns to New York City to seek treatment from a urologist who offers a procedure that may save him the embarrassment of wetting himself and wearing diapers that have been a daily part of his life since his prostate surgery a few years before. By happenstance Zuckerman remeets a woman he met only in passing 40 years previously at the home of a revered novelist E.I. Lonoff. Amy Bellette buried her famous lover decades ago and is facing her own death from brain cancer.

When Zuckerman answers an ad in the paper placed by young writers who wish to house swap with someone outside of the city, he finds himself falling for Jamie, the young Harvard grad whose sexuality arouses him in a way he'd abandoned as plausible. And, her attraction enables Zuckerman to write again. "Things fall apart. The centre cannot hold."

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