©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.
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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