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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 (133 )
5 star
 (46)
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Overall
3.8 (36 )
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1 star
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Story
3.9 (34 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 10-03-08
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 10-03-08 Member Since 2003

    Audible Member Since 2003

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brilliant"

    Just when you thought Philip Roth was writing his own swan song with the publications of EVERYMAN and EXIT GHOST, the master surprises the world with this small but powerful gem. It seems as if this incredible writer is still evolving, and in INDIGNATION Roth seems to pull it all together in this short but rich, humorous but shocking story.

    There are many familiar Rothian themes here - for example, the protagonist being a young man growing up Jewish in post WWII New Jersey. The main character Marcus Messner is the product of hard-working parents, involved in a meticulously described trade; this time, a Kosher butcher. And to be sure, in a butcher's shop there is blood, LOTS of blood. Yes, the blood is just one of many devices in Roth's toolbox, effectively employed to foreshadow coming events.

    There is an awful lot happening in this story; an over protective and paranoid father, a strong hard-working loving mother, a son who wants to do nothing but achieve, college life with all of the liberties and pressures found therein, and the threat of the military draft awaiting young men who do not qualify for a college deferment. Just over the horizon, the terrible war in Korea rages.

    While derivative of some of the hysterically clumsy sexuality of PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT and the gut-wrenching familial strife of AMERICAN PASTORAL, this book is nonetheless unique. For me, the loving entreaty to Marcus by his mother, which borders on a Shakespearean soliloquy, is alone worth the price of admission.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    laurel 08-09-09
    laurel 08-09-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "narrator thinks he's Henny Youngman"

    I'm a big Roth fan, and George Guidall does great readings of the other books. This guy reads it like he's a Borscht Belt comedian, manages to miss every nuance, doesn't understand the character.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Princeton, NJ, USA 06-15-09
    Charles Princeton, NJ, USA 06-15-09
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    "Maybe not Roth at his best,but...."

    I am a Philip Roth fan and I cannot say that this one is my favorite Roth novel, or even in my top half-dozen. Of Roth's most recent short novels, I liked Exit Ghost, Everyman and the Dying Animal better, but even a second tier Roth novel beats almost anybody else's masterpiece. Many of the other Roth audiobooks are narrated by George Guidall, and I have to admit, George Guidall is the better narrator. Still, this audiobook is certainly worth the price and five and a half hours of your time.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Everett Leiter New York, NY 02-09-09
    Everett Leiter New York, NY 02-09-09 Member Since 2004
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    "Fast-moving story"

    This is the story of a young Jewish man who grew up in Newark and who seeks to expand his world by going to a private college in Ohio. The characters (his parents, other students at college, a supercilious dean of students) are fascinating...as is the glimpse of life in the 1940's and early 1950's. Great narration.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vered 12-24-08
    Vered 12-24-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Mixed feelings"

    On one hand, "Indignation" has the Philip Roth stamp all over it - it's an interesting listen, Roth builds a good, eye opening plot, and presents the atmosphere and state of mind of student life in 1952. Some Roth-brilliant sarcasm is ofcourse part of the package
    Altough the image of Marcus Mesner is a crossbreeding between a young Zuckerman and "the Swede" (from American Pastoral) - i wouldn't say Roth is repeating himself, this story does have it's own inimitable atmosphere and ideas.

    On the other hand, as powerful as this book may be, i don't think it's Roth's best work - possibly because it's a short novel, which doesn't allow much development.
    I do recommend the audiobook or the book - they are intense - but for those who never read Philip Roth before, i would recommend American Pastoral or The Human Stain.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eve Andover, MA, USA 10-15-08
    Eve Andover, MA, USA 10-15-08
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    "Yet another masterpiece"

    Philip Roth at his best. Concise and detailed, lyrical and gut-wrenching bloody, a story about a young life told from the grave, about growing in New Jersey and Ohio during the Korean War. Please, please, G-d, do not make this book Roth's swan song.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    04-10-11
    04-10-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Amazing"

    Great book (as expected), but what a fantastic performance by DIck Hill. This is a really good example how a books wins with a great narration.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Galloway, NJ, United States 11-18-08
    John Galloway, NJ, United States 11-18-08 Member Since 2007
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    "I enjoyed this, short but funny"

    This was a quick little story. I tend to read crime fiction, but this "slice of life" story was a pleasant change of pace. I found it amusing and enjoyable, but fyi, it's not all laughs. I guess it surprised me in places too. The naration and sound quality were very good. I almost feel like summarizing by saying "it's good, if you like that kind of thing", but i know that's not much help... It is short, so no harm in trying it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ginette Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada 06-11-10
    Ginette Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada 06-11-10 Member Since 2009
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    "interesting albeit a bit lecturing!"

    Interesting book, yet I was glad when it was finished (only 5 hours). I didn't much like the voice of the narrator - it was indignant in fact! (Dick something)- too expressive! and sententious! I usually love Philip Roth's writing but this was different but not necessarily in a bad way!Some parts were too long and too lecturing!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Halina Tampa, FL, USA 11-09-08
    Halina Tampa, FL, USA 11-09-08
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    "Great Narrator, good read despite flat ending."

    This is about the most superbly narrated book I've heard in a long time. The narrator made the characters come to life, and the story was great, engrossingly complex, unique and captivating, like most of Roth's novels. But the ending fatally weakened the story. It seemed incomplete. As if Roth was in a rush. Still I gave it four stars because I could not stop listening for most of it and though the conclusion was imperfect it made me want to hear more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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