©1991 Philip Roth; (P)2003 Recorded Books
"A tough-minded, beautifully written memoir. . . . It smacks of honesty and truthfulness on every page." (San Francisco Chronicle)
"A deeply resonant portrait of a father and son. . . . Roth has looked past all comfort and condolence to find the truth—about himself and his father; about death and the fear of it; and about the absolute vulnerability to which love condemns us all." (Chicago Tribune)
"In a cunningly straightforward way, Patrimony tells one of the central true stories many Americans share nowadays. . . . Such telling is a marvel of artful wit and vigor. . . . It is the triumphant art of the literal . . . the gloriously pragmatic, unpredictable genius of Philip Roth's narrative gifts." (The New York Times Book Review)
I am a Roth fan, but I had never before bothered with any of his non-fiction. I am very glad that I listened to this moving memoir. It reads like a Roth novel, but with rawer emotion. Anyone who has or has had an aged or ill parent would be moved by this account of the last year of the life of the author's father. The book is not didactic, but it teaches several lessons. I was moved to buy the hardback version, as I am sure that this is a book I will want to return to often.
Also the narration by George Guidall is excellent.
Mountainbiker, Skier, Riverman, Dzedo
Yes. Text by Roth. Performance by Guidall. This is one of the best marriages of author/reader/subject out there in audiobook land.
This is a book about the relationship between a loving middle aged son (Philip Roth who was in his late 50s at the time) and his aging widowed father. I read a lot of Roth and I understand why some people would think he's self obsessed, narcissistic and self absorbed. I don't see him that way. This book is one of the reasons I don't. To write this well, unflichingly, sensitively and lovingly about one's father is something quite rare. Who else?
Guidall delivers the goods! He doesn't do impersonations. What he does is very subtle. He suggests characters by intonation and pace. He is an entertaining reader but does not allow his reading to usurp or occupy center stage. It is always in the service of the story.
You could do that. But the writing and reading is of such high quality that I wanted to savor it.
If you are a middle aged person who has aging parents or someone close to you then this is a book that I highly recommend.
At this point, I would not. There are many other books on my to-read list that interest me more.
I would not recommend Patrimony unless they will find it relatable. I would also recommend either reading it or a different performance.
I don't think I would unless it was the only one. Volume changed too much between character's voices and at some points hard to understand.
No, it has closure.
I'm not saying this book is not well written or accurate, but it was exceptionally painful for me to listen to at this stage in my life. I read it only because it was selected by our book club and completing it was an obligation. What happened to Herman Roth at the end of his life is my greatest fear--nothing, and I mean nothing, would be worse for me than what happened to this man. And if either of my children ever wrote about it or described these kinds of indignities in context with me, I would haunt them forever!
I'm sure that Philip Roth meant this memoir as a tribute to his father, and in many ways it was. Yet…his father was a man of great pride and repeatedly begged his son to "never tell anyone this has happened." The son lied so often, and in the end, he shared it all with, not only their immediate family, but with the entire world. Personally, I would not ever want that to happen.
I finished this book as quickly as I could because, until Herman Roth was finally out of his suffering, there was a dark pall hanging over me. I resolve, that if it is in my power, this will never happen to me. It is not the way I want to leave our beautiful world…to be remembered at the end as a diminished, suffering human being.
These comments reflect only MY opinion, and I don't expect anyone else to share my feelings or beliefs. If the author had not written effectively and clearly about his father's last years, I'm sure my reaction would have been far more moderate.
And now…on to something far more positive, at least from my perspective...
True life, cherished life, a loving son deals with his father's end of life. I found this story to be quite sad, perhaps because my own Jewish mother is 82, and I fear my time with her may be getting short. But the story was just lovely, and I aspire to feel the thing this son did, while he strengthened the already strong bond between a father and son. Bravo.
Moving, Compelling, Soulful
Philp Roth himself. He was a dutiful son, a compassionate son, who took care of his father and stood by him right to the end. He was giving of unquestionable love to the man who had brought him up, albeit having to deal with his father's demands and temperament which at times was challenging.
His mimicking of the Jewish New York accent was quite interesting.
Given the stage of my own life and my position as a son in similar circumstances and challenges, I associated extremely closely with the book.
A must read for all who take care of their parents, as this will give them a perspective and help in getting to terms with what it is to be a son or daughter.
This is Philip Roth in a whole different light. This is such a personal story and he deftly handles the events leading to the death of his father. He includes stories about his dad that are highly emotional to the writer but are handled the way a great writer like Roth treats his art. This is an opportunity to see one of today's most talented writers as vulnerable as the rest of us. Time well spent.
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