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The Humbling
 
 
Author
Philip Roth.
Publisher Houghton Mifflin  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 7.75 x 5.25 x 0.75 inches
ISBN 9780547239699
Pages/Publication Date 140/2009
Daedalus Item Code 12676
This item is not available.
Description
The winner of a Pulitzer Prize, two National Book Awards, and three PEN/Faulkner Awards, Philip Roth continues a series of short novels with this 2009 story about fading actor Simon Axler, with overtones of Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Shaw. In his mid-60s, having lost his confidence onstage and then his wife, he retires to his upstate New York farmhouse, then unexpectedly enters into an intensely erotic affair with Pegeen, the 40-ish daughter of friends who has just left a long-term lesbian relationship. But this brief consolation only leads Axler to a darker and more shocking end.

"Roth observes much (about age, success and the sexual credit lovers hold one with another) in little space, and the svelte narrative amounts to an unsparing confrontation of self."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"The great Roth has always written both short novels and long novels, choosing a length perfectly suited to what he has to say. Thus, his thirtieth book is brief and perfectly so. Soon into its pages, the reader will recall the title of a famous play about Henry II of England, The Lion in Winter. The lion here, increasingly toothless, is sixty-something Simon Axler, a famous stage and screen actor. Yes, he's famous, but now he is so stultified by uncertainty about his talent and how to execute his craft that he can no long perform. His wife flees, and Simon retires to his upstate New York farm, even checking himself into a psychiatric ward for a short stay. Roth does not labor over the man's distress. Using spare prose, he makes the situation only as poignant as it deserves to be. When Simon takes up with a woman young enough to be his daughter, who is the daughter of old acting friends, Roth again uses concise language to best convey the sadness of what is only a short rehabilitation for Simon, and which ultimately forces his hand in determining how his life will proceed—or not. Roth's voice, long heard and long appreciated, remains profound."—Booklist (starred review)

 
 
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