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When She Was Good | [Philip Roth]

When She Was Good

In this mesmerizing, funny, chilling novel, the setting is a small town in the 1940s Midwest, the subject the heart of a wounded and ferociously moralistic young woman, one of those implacable American moralists whose "goodness is a terrible disease. When she was still a child, Lucy Nelson had her alcoholic failure of a father thrown in jail. Ever since then she has been trying to reform the men around her, even if that ultimately means destroying herself in the process.
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Publisher's Summary

In this mesmerizing, funny, chilling novel, the setting is a small town in the 1940s Midwest, the subject the heart of a wounded and ferociously moralistic young woman, one of those implacable American moralists whose "goodness is a terrible disease".

When she was still a child, Lucy Nelson had her alcoholic failure of a father thrown in jail. Ever since then, she has been trying to reform the men around her, even if that ultimately means destroying herself in the process.

With his unerring portraits of Lucy and her hapless, childlike husband, Roy, Roth has created an uncompromising work of fictional realism, a vision of provincial American piety, yearning, and discontent that is at once pitiless and compassionate.

©1995 Philip Roth; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Roth is a living master." (Harold Bloom, The New York Review of Books)

"High, careful tragedy, nasty as life, and Roth emerges...as a Dreiser who can write!" (Stanley Elkin)

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