Funny, Sad. Roth takes this character through his life and uses and abuses him in a way we can all relate too. I have lived his life in my fears and fantasies.
Philip Roth at his best! And that's saying a lot! Having lived in the area and the era that the book is set in adds a poignancy that is gripping. A wonderful reflection of the times we lived in, the beliefs we held, our loves and foibles. Just great.
I found Indignation to be humorless, crude, and shallow.
This is basically the Forest Gump story backwards. Gump, though of simple mind, manages to tiptoe through turbulent periods of American history with his decency, compassion, faith, and humility. Marcus, the main character of this novel, is evidently book smart, but driven, angry, without faith, and narcissistic.
Marcus is concerned for no one but himself. While he says he prefers solitude, he is always ready for a verbal fight, and he is sure he's always right.
Nearly everyone at the rural Ohio college he attends is a unidimensional stereotype, and of course the social mores of 1950s America -- middle America -- are sufficating to this intellectually superior young man from America's largest metro area.
Marcus can't understand why the adults at the college are frustrated when he refuses to take even the simpliest suggestion. And he can't just accept a suggestion, but he has to argue his viewpoint and pound his superior intelligence into others.
There is nothing to be learned here, nothing to laugh at, nothing to ponder over. A few random situations occur, and our hapless, but intellectually superior main character trips, stumbles, and finally careens into disaster, basically because of his own stubborn attitude. While these events seem to happen to him, he ends up being the master of his own demise. No one to blame but himself and a few unforeseen occurences.