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Indignation | [Philip Roth]

Indignation

It is 1951 in America, the second year of the Korean War. Marcus Messner of Newark, New Jersey, is beginning his sophomore year at the pastoral, conservative Winesburg College in Ohio. Why is he here? Because his father, a hard-working neighborhood butcher, seems to have gone mad.
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Publisher's Summary

It is 1951 in America, the second year of the Korean War. Marcus Messner of Newark, New Jersey, is beginning his sophomore year at the pastoral, conservative Winesburg College in Ohio.

Why is he here? Because his father, a hard-working neighborhood butcher, seems to have gone mad - mad with fear and apprehension of the dangers of adult life, the dangers of the world, the dangers he sees in every corner for his beloved boy.

Indignation, the story of a young man's education in life's terrifying chances and bizarre obstructions, is a powerful addition to Roth's investigations of the impact of American history on the life of the vulnerable individual.

©2008 Philip Roth; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Brilliant and disconcerting...It's a melancholy triumph and a cogent reflection on society in a time of war." (Publishers Weekly)

“The interplay between a life just begun and ended, impulse and reflection, college high jinks and eternity is what makes it resonate.” (People)

“Roth, blending the bawdy exuberance of his early period and the disenchantment of his recent work, demonstrates with subtle mastery, the 'incomprehensible way one's most banal, incidental, even comical choices achieve the most disproportionate result'.” (The New Yorker)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (129 )
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3.8 (31 )
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4.1 (30 )
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Performance
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  •  
    irabby New Jersey 10-31-08
    irabby New Jersey 10-31-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    "As Good As it Gets"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Egon Wayne, NJ 10-27-08
    Egon Wayne, NJ 10-27-08 Member Since 2006
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    "Fantastic!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. M. Dalessandro Tucson, AZ USA 05-15-10
    A. M. Dalessandro Tucson, AZ USA 05-15-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Glad It Was Short"

    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.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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