Wow, this book sneaked up on me. Philip Roth traces the life of a single, anonymous ‘everyman,’ starting at his funeral and then, as if rewinding a videotape, bringing him back to life to reveal the man’s lifelong health problems and big-brother envy, lustful escapades with a hot Danish model at the peak of his advertising career, and the heartbreaking loss of his one good marriage. In the end, we see a humble, resigned, observant, willing, stubborn, sad, mentally capable man still filled with so much love (and lust) but few people left to give it to. I judge great fiction in part by how much I end up thinking about my own life and the lives of the people around me while reading it. I was often forced to pause while my mind careened off to my own thoughts and life, and the lives of my aging parents. Despite so many poor choices, Philip Roth’s 'everyman' is a decent man, but in the end, decency is not enough. Death, decay, and uncertainty still await us all.
The book traces a lifetime through familial relationships, and the topics of vitality, age, and death are narrated expertly by Guidall. The book made me think about the topics, but wasn't overly philosophical, and in some parts the poetic language was what I was most impressed with. A fine audio book, but not incredibly remarkable.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
Then this may be the book for you. The prose is great. The characters are sufficiently vivid. The reflections on life are sufficiently profound. The main character's actions and inactions are all sufficiently realistic or appropriately motivated. The whole book is a very thoughtful, well-done examination of what it means to be a human being in today's world. I can even say that I enjoyed the book while I was listening to it. And yet, when it was over, I really had a hard time thinking of a good reason that this book needed to exist. YMMV
Very high; not the best.
The thinking and musing about death not too far away.
He sounded like the main character might sound.
It was disturbing.
It was very very good from a literary standpoint and and it was emotionally moving. It stuck in my mind for a long time. I couldn't stop thinking about it; about impending death and remembrence.
Philip Roth's "Everyman" is as insightful as it is chilling.
From beginning to end, Roth continues (as in previous projects) to unmask the evidently meaninigless notion of purpose and leaves his reader with nothing more than existential deliberation. A truly powerful book, but be warned: altough on occation one might find himself smiling or even savoring a good laugh, you will not come out of this novel with a smile on your face. You will, however, enjoy every minute of it.
Guidall takes Roth's beautifully intricate language to new hights with a truly astounding performance.
As a man in his sixties, I identified with a lot of what happened to the main character. I found the book very interesting, in spite of all the flashbacks to the past. The narrator did a good job, reading the text from the perspective of an older man.
An introspective look into the foibles and joys of a man. His estrangements and attachments. He looks back from the end of life vantage point with regret and sympathy. The book is a downer in that each scene is a hospitalization.
I listened to Everyman as a 48 year old who just starting to notice the accumulating effects of various abuses done to character, body, and mind. The book is honest, and yes, rather stark. Mr. Roth aptly describes life's arc and I am glad to have listened to this reading at this time in my life. As another listener already wrote, this is not a fun story. It provoked serious reflection.
I would give this a 5 except I find the narrator to have a bit of a halting style that distracted me from time to time.
But, the story itself is terrific. It is a bit short, but then, so's life, and that's the point here. (And besides, it was the perfect length for a 5-hour flight yesterday.) The reflections on mortality, life, failure to be the person we expect and hope to be, all of these ideas make this a brilliant listen--one that is close to the bone sometimes.