Books by Philip Roth

In 1997 Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House, and in 2002 received the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction, previously


NEMESIS by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 12, 2010

For those who monitor the growing list of books by Philip Roth, his forthcoming, Nemesis, presents a revelation as startling as the discovery of a planet or the alignment of a new constellation.

The top of the list remains reassuringly familiar: "Zuckerman Books" (those featuring Nathan Zuckerman, Roth's alter ego), "Roth Books" (another alter ego, "Philip Roth," in a category that includes fiction and nonfiction alike) and "Kepesh Books" (another serial protagonist who may or may not be an alter ego).

But then there is an emergent category: "Nemeses: Short Fiction," which encompasses four recent novels, including the new one. Read full book review >

THE HUMBLING by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 2, 2009

"Allusive, elusive and peppered with mordant wit to a downright Strindbergian degree—one of Roth's most eloquent, painful and memorable books."
Another concise, bruising examination of sexual obsession in early old age from Roth (Indignation, 2008, etc.). Read full book review >
INDIGNATION by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 16, 2008

"A twist in narrative perspective reinforces this novel's timelessness."
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. Read full book review >
EVERYMAN by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 9, 2006

"A rich exploration of the epiphany that awaits us all—that "life's most disturbing intensity is death." "
Roth follows his recent succession of critically acclaimed novels (e.g., American Pastoral, 1997; The Plot Against America, 2004) with a compact meditation on mortality, which partially echoes his 1991 memoir-novel Patrimony. Read full book review >
THE PLOT AGAINST AMERICA by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 5, 2004

"An almost unbelievably rich book, and another likely major prizewinner."
A politically charged alternate history in which Aryan supremacist hero Charles Lindbergh unseats FDR in 1940—with catastrophic consequences for America's Jews. Read full book review >
THE DYING ANIMAL by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 18, 2001

" "This need. This derangement. Will it never stop?," Roth's most sexually importunate figure demands of himself. Probably not—and we'll probably be treated to further ruminations on why this should be so in a future David Kepesh novel."
The recent creative surge that has produced some of Roth's best fiction continues with this intense short novel narrated by David Kepesh (protagonist also of The Breast and The Professor of Desire), who's a more highly eroticized counterpart of Roth's other serial alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman. Read full book review >
THE HUMAN STAIN by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 10, 2000

Roth's extraordinary recent productivity (the prizewinning Sabbath's Theater, 1995, and American Pastoral, 1997) continues apace with this impressively replete and very moving chronicle of an academic scandal and its impact on both the aging professor at its center and his friend—alter ego novelist Nathan Zuckerman. Read full book review >

I MARRIED A COMMUNIST by Philip Roth
THRILLERS
Released: Oct. 22, 1998

Following the spectacular success of its immediate predecessor, American Pastoral (1997), Roth's ambitious new novel is another chronicle of innocence and idealism traduced—the demolition of what one of its characters calls "the myth of your own goodness." Read full book review >

AMERICAN PASTORAL by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 12, 1997

"American fiction."
Roth's elegiac and affecting new novel, his 18th, displays a striking reversal of form—and content—from his most recent critical success, the Portnoyan Sabbath's Theater (1995). Read full book review >
SABBATH'S THEATER by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 12, 1995

If Chaucer's Wife of Bath had been a male Jewish sexagenarian, she might have sounded a lot like Morris "Mickey" Sabbath. Read full book review >

Released: April 8, 1993

Roth has worked out so frequently and acrobatically with fictional versions of himself that his entanglement here with a doppelganger insisting that he's Philip Roth—a double whose visionary "diasporism" gets the hapless narrator tied up in plots engineered by the Mossad, the PLO, and God knows who else- -is as logical as it is frenetically funny. Arriving in Jerusalem just after a hallucinatory withdrawal from Halcion, Roth is comically vulnerable to the double who's using his striking resemblance to the novelist to curry favor and raise money for his reverse-Zionist project: to return all Ashkenazic Jews from Israel, where fundamentalist Muslims threaten them with extinction, to the relatively benign cities of Europe. Read full book review >

DECEPTION by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1990

"More expository "presence" might have supercharged this (as it did in The Counterlife) origami-model Roth novel a little, though: you do have the feeling of being set up, of it being all indictment and no trial."
A novel of voices—men's and women's, but mostly the voices of a couple having an illicit affair, he a married writer, she another man's wife. Read full book review >
PATRIMONY by Philip Roth
Released: Feb. 11, 1990

Roth has used the relationship between his life and art in a gimmicky way in his fiction, and even his brutal memoir The Facts (1988) was not free of this defect. Read full book review >

PATRIMONY  by Philip Roth
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Feb. 11, 1990

"An elegy of overwhelming horror and pity—filled with Roth's graceful prose and narrative control, but also with a humanity sometimes missing in his other work."
Roth has used the relationship between his life and art in a gimmicky way in his fiction, and even his brutal memoir The Facts (1988) was not free of this defect. Read full book review >
THE FACTS by Philip Roth
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Sept. 19, 1988

Roth—the most relentlessly and trickily autobiographical of major American novelists—now offers "to demythologize myself and play it straight, to pair the facts as lived with the facts as presented." Read full book review >
THE COUNTERLIFE by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1986

"Certainly Roth's most complex, ambitious work—and one of his best."
Much of the last two decades' metafictional nattering is made to look like so much sandbox-play by Roth's new novel; if the technique of ostensibly real characters imagining they're in books (and vice-versa) has a fatal flaw, it's that neither character nor book usually tackles the unbearable alibis, transgressions, and needs—and the punishingly naked absurdity—that both art and life seem to demand. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1985

"A slight addition to the Zuckerman epic, then, but one that throws the work's Jewish themes into some strong relief."
Roth's last three novels—The Ghost Writer, Zuckerman Unbound, The Anatomy Lesson—have all dealt with the adventures, the headaches and neckaches, the ancestral burdens and complaints of novelist Nathan Zuckerman; here these three books are reprinted in full, then capped by a new, 83-page epilogue, "The Prague Orgy." Read full book review >
THE ANATOMY LESSON by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 28, 1983

Zuckerman in pain—physical pain, psychic pain, existential pain—as Roth continues to follow his nakedly, overbearingly autobiographical alter-ego: what was high art in The Ghost Writer became a glossy, so-so hybrid in Zuckerman Unbound. . . and has now become something intermittently powerful or funny, strangely fascinating, yet grimly embarrassing, It's 1973. Read full book review >
ZUCKERMAN UNBOUND by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1981

In The Ghost Writer (1979), Roth explored the tensions between being-an-artist and being-a-human-being; he used the nakedly autobiographical figure of young (in the mid-1950s) writer Nathan Zuckerman; he compressed all the action into a few days; he wove his theme through sequences ranging from fantasy and farce to Chekhovian realism; and he came up with a magical novel, perhaps the best book of his career. Read full book review >
THE GHOST WRITER by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 19, 1979

"Elegantly floating and at the same time firmly grounded to home and heart—a sonata-like masterwork."
Is it possible that Portnoy's Complaint will some day be remembered only as the book that made Philip Roth famous enough to afford to write great, quiet novellas later on? Read full book review >
THE PROFESSOR OF DESIRE by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 3, 1977

"From the waist down, then—the same old story, sans laughs; but, in head and heart—a subdued and seductive journey."
In 1972, the mature David Kepesh told us how he turned into The Breast, but here are his earlier, less symbolic guises—child of the Borscht Belt, scholar of Chekhov and Kafka, and wrestler with temptation. Read full book review >
READING MYSELF AND OTHERS by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 30, 1975

"This time anyone can play Dr. Spielvogel."
This is an act of self-vindication, an expression of Philip Roth's "continuing need for self-analysis and self-justification," a valiant defense of the naked and exposed "moral flank" some critics have found obscene. Read full book review >
MY LIFE AS A MAN by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 3, 1974

"So Nu, "Let's begin."
The opener here — one of two stories which goes by the name of "Useful Fictions" — is by Peter Tarnopol and about Nathan Zuckerman who is of course Peter Tarnopol who is of course Philip Roth recording his life as a man already only too recognizable as that of the mensch manque — the Jewish boy from New Jersey who was such a public nuisance in the public library and such a misfit in the Army and who became "the golden boy of American literature" (1959 — hello, goodbye) and then went on to teach in a midwestern college where he became hopelessly entrammeled with two women. I.e. — the basis of what will be shamefully appropriated as useful non-fiction (a case study) by Dr. Spielvogel who also reappears and considers him "among the top young narcissists in the arts." Read full book review >
THE GREAT AMERICAN NOVEL by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 14, 1973

"As for the G.A.N., it is as much a dream as the 500 hitter, a goal made mythical by an arbitrary set of rules for a game which we (both writers and readers) now find tiring."
A book with this title just had to be written, and who is better qualified (if not Norman Mailer?) than Philip Roth, who's been doing his damnedest ever since Goodbye Columbus got the National Book Award back in 1959 when Ike was President. Read full book review >
THE BREAST by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 21, 1972

"70 pages — no bigger than an A-cup."
This is no more than a titbit by way of a diversion in the event that you divert easily as once again with downcast eyes Mr. Roth tells the story of David Alan Kepesh, poor nebbish David Alan Kepesh, who having observed the small pink stain on his glans penis suddenly finds himself transformed into a breast. Read full book review >
OUR GANG by Philip Roth
THRILLERS
Released: Nov. 8, 1971

"STEAL THIS BOOK from the Oval Room coffee table."
A string of put-on, put-down face the nation appearances of Trick E. Dixon from the time when his original (authentic) statement on abortion and the sanctity of human life leads to some uncomfortable questions about Vietnam, My Lai, and the conjecture that one of Caltey's 22 victims might have been pregnant. Read full book review >
PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 17, 1968

"Masterful in parts, phony in others, but obviously a "hot" best-seller."
There are two voices in Portnoy's Complaint, Philip Roth's quasi-autobiographical tour de force, though both voices are the voices of the hero. Read full book review >
WHEN SHE WAS GOOD by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 7, 1967

"Well, When She was Good couldn't be better for what it is although it will probably be reviewed for what it is not; it's a consuming melodrama and even if it takes you unaware, it won't find you asleep."
Even though Roth has written only one collection of short stories and one novel, he was quickly established as one of the ablest writers to make the Jewish scene. Read full book review >
LETTING GO by Philip Roth
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 15, 1962

"It will get attention."
This is Philip Roth's first novel, following Goodbye Columbus, his exhilarating, uncompromising collection of short stories. Read full book review >
GOODBYE, COLUMBUS by Philip Roth
Released: May 7, 1959

"A Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship Award (and a good deal more literary than some recent choices) this is a must for all readers interested in the contemporary American literary scene."
The world of the American Jew provides the cultural milieu for the title short novel and five stories by a young writer familiar to readers of the New Yorker, Esquire, Commentary and the Paris Review. Read full book review >