- Title: The Counterlife
- Author: Philip Roth
- ISBN: 9780679749042
- Page: 374
- Format: Paperback
The Counterlife is about people enacting their dreams of renewal and escape, some of them going so far as to risk their lives to alter seemingly irreversible destinies Wherever they may find themselves, the characters of The Counterlife are tempted unceasingly by the prospect of an alternative existence that can reverse their fate.Illuminating these lives in transition anThe Counterlife is about people enacting their dreams of renewal and escape, some of them going so far as to risk their lives to alter seemingly irreversible destinies Wherever they may find themselves, the characters of The Counterlife are tempted unceasingly by the prospect of an alternative existence that can reverse their fate.Illuminating these lives in transition and guiding us through the book s evocative landscapes, familiar and foreign, is the miind of the novelist Nathan Zuckerman His is the skeptical, enveloping intelligence that calculates the price that s paid in the struggle to change personal fortune and reshape history, whether in a dentist s office in suburban New Jersey, or in a tradition bound English Village in Gloucestershire, or in a church in London s West End, or in a tiny desert settlement in Israel s occupied West Bank.
Recent Comments "The Counterlife"
An extraordinary tour de force from Roth. Varying styles of narration, sub-text commenting on subtext like Pale Fire, it was an exhilarating read. There was a lot of quotable material:Nathan Zuckerman at the Wailing Wall: "Rock is just right, I thought : what on earth could be less responsive. Even the cloud drifting overhead, Shuki's late father's "Jewish cloud," appeared less indifferent to our encompassed and uncertain existence."And later with his brother Henry near Hebron: "What if that was [...]
One thing writing all these book reports has done is help me figure out why I read. Our Lady of the Flowers really clarified some key reasons for it in an unavoidably brash, ballsy, obvious way even I could understand: I read because my adult mind is worn out, is tired, it's limp and lazy, my mind's become frustratingly ineffectual and can't always get going. It wants to love the world, but it's become increasingly difficult for it to muster the necessary excitement. I'll be out walking around s [...]
“People are unjust to anger — it can be enlivening and a lot of fun.” ― Philip Roth, The CounterlifeStructurally brilliant, with a prose that shoots aggressively off every page. Roth begins his narrative with erectile disfunction and ends it with a nod to the circumcised erection of the Jewish father. Roth is going to travel and transform. He is going to elect for historical plastic surgery just so he can pick at every wound and irritate every scar of the past. He will use and abuse ever [...]
Once upon a time, when I went to a therapist for marital counseling, the doctor asked me, “Where have you visited that you might like to live? “ “Let’s say Las Cruces, or Sante Fe, or Boulder,” I said. “Fine, what would Santa Fe might be like for you? How might you be different there?” “Ah, right,” I said, “I would still be the same person, regardless of wherever I live. I am still myself. I could start a new relationship, and would still have my ‘issues’ with whomever I [...]
I can't tell you what this book is about because, for one thing, I don't want to spoil anything and, secondly, because I'm not even sure what I just read. It's one of those books where I had the desire to pinch myself while reading it, hoping it was all a dream. But that doesn't work when I'm wide awake and when the author has purposefully set out to confound me with different levels of reality, making my reading experience unreal. And that isn't a compliment. I disliked this story. It was full [...]
A masterpiece. When I reread it again I'll make more extensive notes. A real knock-out of a novel---and funny!
GOOD NEWS: I finished this bookD NEWS: Although I've long been a fan of Philip Roth's work, after reading this one, I moved some Roth books on my to-read shelf so far down the list that I may wind up reading them posthumously -- when my solar calendar and Jewish calendar have been replaced by an eternity calendar. The odds in Vegas were heavily tilted in favor of my liking THE COUNTERLIFE. Hey, the book contains material on subjects of considerable interest to me: anti-Semitism, the non-Jewish w [...]
Some consider this to be Roth's "best book"; others have declared it the finest novel of the past twenty-five years. This is a brilliant, challenging work of postmodernism. It stretches the genre without breaking it. Yet it is also feels academic - seeking to impress rather than fulfill the reader.The Counterlife is the fifth book in the Nathan Zuckerman series, and it is about the possibility of alternative lives and the role of fiction in creating those lives. The book begins with Zuckerman's [...]
La controvita è un romanzo di commovente bellezza, di rara lucidità, un moltiplicatore di strategie narrative che sembra andare in automatico e a fine lettura non ci sono conclusioni da trarre, certezze da confutare o respingere, ma solo domande che restano sospese e che generano ulteriori interrogativi.Di cosa parla La controvita? Principalmente d'identità, e a dirlo così sembra la scoperta dell'acqua calda, son due secoli che i romanzi parlano di questo, ma qui l'identità e la sua ricerca [...]
The Question before FinklerEntertaining, thought-provoking, technically brilliant, and timely. Timely too in its relationship to another much-lauded book, Howard Jacobson's The Finkler Question, the most recent Man Booker winner. By coincidence, a friend gave me her copy of the Roth on the same day that I bought the Jacobson; neither of us connected the two. But now, having enjoyed both books immensely, I am amazed at how closely Roth anticipates Jacobson 34 years earlier. Both authors treat the [...]
I loved Philip Roth’s The Counterlife. It was one of those rare books that could make me feel a multitude of emotions and it took me by surprise. It is rare that books truly take me by surprise and have unexpected twists in the plots. This book did everything.In the beginning this book offended me. I was outraged by the raw, raunchiness of it. I hated the character of Henry. He disgusted me. I hated the way he left his family to have an affair. I hated the way he risked his life to have a dang [...]
Coming from a very white, American world, I know few Jewish people. But because of Roth's fiction I feel like an expert - he covers his Jewishness from all angles, assuming the role of antagonist and victim and casual observer (shredding and reconstructing with abandon). The "plot" of this book is, on the surface, infuriatingly complex, although Roth pulls it together and eventually one realizes the first story is indeed just one of a handful of stories. The famous Zuckerman, as best I can tell, [...]
I don't know if this haunting novel stands up to the very best of Roth (American Pastoral, Sabbath's Theater, Patrimony, The Ghost Writer), but I know that it has colonized my brain, that I'm going to have to keep returning to its wisdom and authority for a long time to come.
This pushes much harder against the constraints of the novel form than any of the other Roth I've read. The book is anchored around Nathan Zuckerman and his relationship with his estranged brother Henry, but Roth takes that relationship and rearranges it in each section to delirious, recursive effect. Philip Roth juggles the concerns of death, rebirth and escape that many of his Jewish characters deal with in his fiction, but in this book those evasions actually bleed out of his familiar New Jer [...]
This is not a great story it is four great stories. Roth plays with narrative offering several different resolutions for the same conflict. In the hands of a less skilled writer it might be confusing but it is never that way with Roth. Certain scenes -- many scenes -- are unforgettable.
Sono sufficienti 5 anni di decantazione e una rilettura per passare da una valutazione tiepida al massimo dell’apprezzamento? Probabilmente tanti libri sono passati sotto i miei ponti nel periodo intercorso e anch’io sono maturata come lettrice, ma sono certa che una grossa parte di merito vada alla nuova e più brillante traduzione.E’ un libro complesso, un progetto ambizioso che, benché godibile, richiede una lettura attenta che consenta di apprezzare anche la costruzione, rendendo il g [...]
Cómo me gustó la primera parte de la novela. Entre todo lo que he leído de Philip Roth, es quizá su propuesta estética más audaz. Conformado por bloques narrativos pertenecientes a capas de realidad diferentes, en cada uno de ellos el destino de los personajes difiere y se pone en duda la realidad abordada por la novela. Imaginativa, irónica, es quizá lo más cercano a un juego posmodernista por parte de un autor que, por lo demás, escribe como si el siglo XX estuviera todavía por lleg [...]
This is a difficult book to rate and review. The writing is superb. The dialogue is intelligent, witty and reflects a perfect ear for the cadence and pitch of human interactions. But I am obviously too stupid to understand where this book was trying to lead me as a reader. I read the final page three times hoping that some light bulb would finally illuminate, but it did not. This is a novel within a novel, with the chapters of this secondary book taking precedence over the actual character’s l [...]
Amazingly well done. Wonderful on many levels.1) Each of ~10 characters speaks a narrative in VERY different voice, showing a cool variety of viewpoints about several recurring topics. 2) Often the narrated events described are simply from a different viewpoint, but also sometimes reverse(!) with victim triumphant, betrayed victorious, deceased commemorating the (previous) survivor's funeral.3) Sometimes includes amazingly well assembled expository essays, presented as monologues, by passionate, [...]
Roth is certainly an entertaining, witty, and creative story-teller. The structure of this book reminded me that while Roth leaves a lasting impression of making our more unseemly side seem more human and even touchingly funny, his real strength as a novelist is the imaginative narrations of his novels. I still regard "American Pastoral" and "Sabbath's Theater" as his masterpieces, but "The Counterlife" shares the grafting of individual/family stories with larger social narratives as well. Can't [...]
My first Philip Roth experience and I'm not overly impressed.The idea of The Counterlife was a good one - alternate endings and outcomes to a person's life, kind of like an adult version of "choose your own adventure" stories I used to read as a kid. But the execution of this book was far too self involved, with pages and pages of monologues that seemed completely unrealistic (who has conversations where people woffle on for 20 minutes uninterupted??) and too heavy in the philosophical, zionisti [...]
Me gusta mucho esta novela, trata multitud de perspectivas del judaísmo.
Did not like the last chapter at all.
Publicado en lecturaylocura/la-contravida/Es buen momento, tras el príncipe de Asturias, para poner esta reseña de uno de los libros de este coloso de las letras norteamericanas y que estaba retrasando en demasía.En la densa y excepcional “Zuckerman encadenado”, asistíamos a la creación del alter ego más conocido de Philip Roth (otro sería el muy sexual David Kepesh) a través de un libro que constaba de tres libros y un epílogo maravilloso y complejo. En “La contravida” tenemos [...]
Once more, enchanted by Roth’s wild, impatient imagination as he dexterously flip stories like pancakes, and creates layer upon layer of fiction— all in the service of revealing something that feels (to me, anyway) like truth. A perfect novel to end the year with.
as apoplectic and unfunny a Roth as I've read.
Primero. Esta novela es una caja de juegos metaliterarios de los que no quiero adelantar nada para no arruinarle la sorpresa al lector. Segundo. En esta ocasión Nathan Zuckerman rebasa sus fronteras y va más allá de Newark para satirizar con vehemencia la identidad judía y sobre todo el sionismo con base en Israel, estado al que se enfrenta y critica por todos los ángulos, sin dejar cabos sueltos, desde cualquier punto de vista imaginable. Así tenemos a su amigo Shuki Elchanan, un crítico [...]
In quest'opera il grande scrittore ebraico americano si cimenta col metaromanzo, ovvero un romanzo sul piacere di scrivere romanzi, come direbbe Italo Calvino. Solo che di piacevole non c'è niente. In quella che sembra una dichiarazione di poetica, Nathan Zuckerman parte dagli spiriti stritolati dei suoi personaggi e ne immagina il tentativo disperato di usicre dalla secca della loro esistenza creandone un'altra diametralmente e scandalosamente opposta per valori e sentire: la controvita appunt [...]
I was not sure how many stars I would give to this novel. If you've followed my writing about my reading for any time, you now that I'm rather ambivalent about Philip Roth. In the late nineties I read Goodbye Columbus and Portnoy's Complaint and enjoyed them. Portnoy's became one of my favourite novels. However, many other Roth novels I read I did not like. Some that were highly acclaimed and award-winning, I did not even finish (I delighted in the way Christopher Hitchens would attack each new [...]
In "The Counterlife", Roth gets boring. This is my seventh or eight novel by him and I didn't know he was capable of writing a boring book. This one proved he could. What makes "The Counterlife" even more disappointing is to consider all of the directions Roth could have taken the novel in comparison to what he actually did. One thing that Philip Roth can always do is tell a story in a very compelling way, drawing the reader into the plot and causing us to hold on until the very end. This book s [...]
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