The writing by Roth, the wonderful reading - just perfect - and a look at how the polic epidemic affected ordinary families. I was child in the 50s when the fear of it hung over families and then came the wonderful vaccine. But it was too late for those who went before.
When the main character looks back and explains why he did not marry his fiance.
The main character - so honest and hard on himself. He blamed himself for everything.
The main character - to try to comfort him.
A Jewish community in the mid 1940s during the war. At the playground kids begin to fall with polio. Mesmerizing.
Among America's aging literary royalty, Philip Roth seems to be the most reliable at delivering great stories. Unlike - say - John Irving, Roth is able to parse his world and tell one tightly focused narrative full of characters that are likable - a seemingly small trick but one that makes all the difference in a reader's or listener's enjoyment of the story. In this respect Roth has taken over for Updike.
This isn't a happy story, but it is not full of unhappy people trudging along to the end. Instead, Nemesis paints a picture of how - even in the worst of circumstances where disease and war are the new normal - people deal with life with dignity and bravery.
I am finding these later Philip Roth novels too full of men and manly activities, manly thoughts. As Roth's elegant, luxuriant prose rambles on and on about guy stuff, the reader - at least this reader - becomes almost annoyed. It's enough already! As a lover of the English language and a logophile, and especially as a Philip Roth fan, I just hate to see this happen. He sounds like nothing more or less than the loquacious old uncle, loving to hear himself talk, at a holiday dinner and I want to be excused from the table.
Add to that, these two characters are not interesting in themselves, only interesting because of their disease. And Roth keeps on using the word "crippled", in accordance, I assume, with the language of the day. But it's still a cringe-worthy word.
I also had difficulty figuring out who was talking - the narrator or the main character. The novel is told by an acquaintance of Bucky Cantor, not by the protagionist, Cantor, and the confusion of the two was not resolved well.
I will say this in favor of the narrator. He is the voice of Philip Roth, and I enjoyed listening to his accent-free, gimmick- and drama-free reading.
I want Philip Roth to go back to writing novels like The Human Stain, full of conflict and relationship ambiguity, instead of this manly stuff.
I enjoy this great book as usual Philip Roth. The narration by Denis Boutsikaris is great . I'd like to listen more book by this suitor and read by Denis.
Moving further from work extended my daily commute... thank God for Audible.
Blahblahblah for the first two-thirds — the entire beginning part of this book felt like an amateur piece of pseudo-journalistic historical biography with no theme and nothing important to say. NPR’s Heller McAlpin reckons Nemesis has an “odd secondhand quality” and I couldn’t say it better.
But then — thank God — something changes. For those who’ve read the book, the turning point I’m referring to may be different to your own, but I thought things got interesting when Roth gave Bucky the impossible choice to either stay in the relative luxury and safe-haven of the Poconos summer camp [with his horny, nubile fiancé noless] or return to the sweltering, disease-ridden Newark [with its terrified kids and heartbroken parents].
At this point I was immediately reminded of the confronting themes of Ash Barker’s “Sub-merge: Living Deep in a Shallow World”. I’m talking less about the God of Sub-merge, and more of its themes: having a personal call to be countercultural; gaining our lives by losing them; taking up a “socially downward journey" among the urban poor.
Of course, this moment is just a springboard. The last third of the book explores some even more interesting themes of control, choices, community, commitment, betrayal, loss, theology and — in my opinion, most compellingly — deciding which of the burdens from our past we choose to yoke ourselves to and which we choose to cast aside.
It is this shift in Roth’s narrative that eventually saves Nemesis from itself, gives it something important to do and makes it a worthwhile listen.
Typical Philip Roth...all the hand ringing and self questioning of the hero...who is truly a super star. The angst we all experience...on steroids. Interesting plot. Great job of capturing the era. Interesting and entertaining listen.
A thoughtful story of one man's journey through adversity and his internal struggle to make sense of it all. I learned something I had little knowledge of, as well...the polio epidemic.
This story was gripping and the ???villain??? here was a devastating disease that pretty much wiped a community and left others paralyzed, figuratively and literally speaking. Philip Roth???s writing can be ???precious??? at times, and his recurring character, Nathan Zuckerman, is pretty unlikeable; that being said, this novel did have all the elements (intrigue and a tragic and relatable main character) and was pretty enjoyable.
Dennis Boutsikaris is the perfect narrator. He brings the gravitas and the depth needed and his performance is just as riveting as the story. He is Philip Roth's voice.
This book was very well read by Dennis Boutsikaris. As I have worked to help eradicate polio in India, the story brought home to me the devastation that a preventable disease can bring to a community. I know many survivors of Polio, who now in their declining years are suffering from the effects of the painful and crippling disease.
This is atypical of most of Philip Roth's work. It goes straight to the emotions with its simple story of a fine, promising young man and his run-in with fate or, perhaps, an evil, uncaring Supreme Being. Dennis Boutsikaris does such a magnificent job of reading this that I just cannot image anyone else who could touch him. Bravo.