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With the honesty of a skilled biographer and the sensitivity of a caring son, Roth chronicles the life of his father, Herman, in this gripping work which won a 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award. Roth holds little back in describing his father as a man of rare intensity and fierce independence who, for better or worse, stood by his principles and held others to his own rigorous standards. Writes Roth, “His obsessive stubbornness–his stubborn obsessiveness–had very nearly driven my mother to a breakdown in her final years.” Frank throughout, Roth calls his father “a pitiless realist, but I wasn’t his offspring for nothing, and I could be pretty realistic, too.”
“He wasn’t just any father,” writes Philip Roth in Patrimony; he was the father, with everything there is to hate in a father, and everything there is to love.” At 86, Herman Roth begins to fail. The Pulitzer Prize-winner realizes how much he’s like the man with the eighth-grade education who spent his life climbing to middle management at an insurance company. In classic Roth style, the pivotal scene involves cleaning up after this father’s compromised bowels. This is when and where he discovers his patrimony. “Once you sidestep disgust and ignore nausea and plunge past those phobias that are fortified like taboos,” he writes, “there’s an awful lot of life to cherish.” The messy, ambivalent, complicated, feelings explored by one of our finest novelists lie somewhere in between what Dodson and Moehringer have flagged at the extremes, where so many of us would place our own feelings about our fathers. – NPR Book Review
Alter ego Nathan Zuckerman doesn’t appear in these pages, and neither is there any sleight of hand blurring the line between literature and life. Instead, here is Roth (NBCC Award-winning TheCounterlife ) at his most humane as he pens a kaddish to his recently deceased father, Herman. A vigorous 86-year-old, Roth pere wakes upone morning and half his face is paralyzed; soon he is deaf in one earand the verdict is a benign brain tumor. Surgery is ruled out for theoctogenarian, and the author is a helpless, horrified witness to hisfather’s humiliating demise, “utterly isolated within a body that hadbecome a terrifying escape-proof enclosure, the holding pen in aslaughterhouse.” In a fast-paced, cogent memoir, Roth, whose filial devotion and awe are tempered with clear-eyed observational powers, ranges far afield and discusses the anti-Semitism of the insurance firm that employed Herman Roth for 40 years; Herman’s perfectionism and his latter-day disregard for his wife whom he nevertheless elevated to quasi-sainthood after death; Herman’s abandonment of hisphylacteries in a locker at the local YMHA; the author’s quintuple bypass surgery weeks before his father’s death; and Herman’s incontinence and the ample size of his genitals. – Publishers Weekly
Heard the CD version of PATRIMONY: A TRUE STORY by Philip Roth, the touching story of how his 86-year-old father battles with the brain tumor that eventually kills him.
If you’ve ever been in the situation where you have had a parent or grandparent get old right before your eyes, then this is a book for you . . . it will help you deal with the situation better and, also, to understand the aging process.
I really felt I got to know Herman Roth and enjoyed in sharing his reminisces about growing up in Newark, as well as about life.
In addition, I could relate to the difficulties that Philip Roth was going through in attempting to care for his father–especially when he, too, had to deal with a serious illness during the process.
The narration by George Guidall was excellent . . . his interpretation of the elder Roth’s voice was truly amazing. – Blaine Greenfield, Amazon.Com Customer Review
Book One of the Darklife Saga by Ronnie Massey
Two Women Hunting A Rouge Vampire
Vampire Valeria Trumaine must confront old demons and face new possibilities as she struggles to bring a rouge vampire to justice. Her best friend and powerful Sidhe princess, Irulan, joins the hunt. Valeria will find that Irulan’s motives for keeping her safe are not what she thinks. And soon she is faced with an undeniable attraction that makes her question everything she knew about herself.
CRIMSON DAWN by Ronnie Massey is not just another vampire novel. Yes, the story line includes the favorites of all young adults – plus those who stayed young-at-heart – such as vampires, werewolves, witches, and fairies, but they represent a framework that is seamlessly incorporated in a captivating story that is well worth to be characterized as extraordinary. [Read More...]
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