what is the best philip roth novel?

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Poll Results

American Pastoral (1997) 2
The Plot Against America (2004) 1
Zuckerman Unbound (1981) 1
Sabbath's Theater (1995) 1
The Counterlife (1986) 1
Portnoy's Complaint (1969) 1
The Dying Animal (2001) 0
Goodbye, Columbus (1959) 0
Letting Go (1962) 0
When She Was Good (1967) 0
Our Gang (1971) 0
The Great American Novel (1973) 0
My Life As a Man (1974) 0
The Professor of Desire (1977) 0
The Breast (1972) 0
The Ghost Writer (1979) 0
The Anatomy Lesson (1983) 0
The Prague Orgy (1985) 0
I Married a Communist (1998) 0
The Human Stain (2000) 0
Exit Ghost (Expected October 2007) 0
The Facts: A Novelist's Autobiography (1988) 0
Deception: A Novel (1990) 0
Patrimony: A Memoir (1991) 0
Operation Shylock: A Confession (1993) 0
Everyman (2006)0

Zeno, Wednesday, 30 May 2007 21:27 (twelve years ago) Permalink

i want to know what to read next from him..

Zeno, Wednesday, 30 May 2007 21:28 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Of the recent ones, you can't go wrong with 'The Plot Against America', 'Everyman' or 'The Human Stain'. If you don't like those, then any Roth is unlikely to appeal.

James Morrison, Wednesday, 30 May 2007 23:44 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I'm not if Portnoy is the best, but you should read it before the Zuckerman unbound sequence (Ghost Writer to Prague Orgy), which you should read before the later Zuckerman books (Pastoral to Stain). If you want a one-off, Sabbath and Shylock are both excellent.

Ray, Friday, 1 June 2007 14:49 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I'm not _sure_ if Portnoy...

Ray, Friday, 1 June 2007 14:49 (twelve years ago) Permalink

i did read american pastoral , thought it was a good storytelling, but i think, only from that example, that compared to bellow and updike,roth is the weakest of the three, while all of them are dealing with more or less the same issues.
bellow is the deepest,updike is the best in metaphors and dialouge.
i did like american pastoral, but the hysteric atmosphere, the long pointless paragraphs towards the end and the too american sense was a bit too much sometimes.

Zeno, Friday, 1 June 2007 16:31 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I think the last section of American Pastoral is weak, but the first two are just incredible.

Ray, Friday, 1 June 2007 16:48 (twelve years ago) Permalink

American Pastoral, obv. Greatest Philip Roth novel.

Mordechai Shinefield, Monday, 4 June 2007 22:53 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

ILX System, Monday, 4 June 2007 23:01 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Shit, I missed this thread. I say it divides up like this:

Masterpieces (in no particular order):
Portnoy's Complaint
The Ghost Writer
Sabbath's Theater
The Counterlife

The Human Stain
Zuckerman Unbound
American Pastoral

Very, Very Good Books:
The Plot Against America
My Life As a Man
The Professor of Desire
The Anatomy Lesson
The Prague Orgy
Operation Shylock

G00blar, Friday, 8 June 2007 16:04 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I missed this poll. I would have thrown one in for Dying Animal. Of course, it relates back to a time when I was dating a professor of Creative writing/Poetry, so it was all very appropriate... hm. All his books are great. Go read The Breast, I laughed my ass off.

Andi Mags, Tuesday, 12 June 2007 01:13 (twelve years ago) Permalink

ha I just read that today. the cover was just a picture of a single big vertically-oriented breast, very odd and off-putting.

W i l l, Tuesday, 12 June 2007 02:42 (twelve years ago) Permalink

man, I just read Sabbath's v. recently and I completely loved it.

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 13 June 2007 03:02 (twelve years ago) Permalink

So how much does it matter to read the series books in order? The Roth books I've read and own are pretty random, but if it matters, I'll try to be a bit more conscious of what I read next, instead of just grabbing whatever sounds most appealing at the moment.

Øystein, Wednesday, 13 June 2007 06:33 (twelve years ago) Permalink

There's only one real interconnected sequence, and I read that out of order without feeling I was missing anything. Most of the books are independent of each other. That said, when I finish reading Roth's novels I'll probably read them all again in order, to see the development of his themes through his life.

Ray, Wednesday, 13 June 2007 07:46 (twelve years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Professor of Desire is the bomb.

roxymuzak, Tuesday, 31 July 2007 02:11 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Especially the second half!

G00blar, Tuesday, 31 July 2007 14:23 (eleven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

^I'm reading it now and I'm into it.

Jordan, Wednesday, 26 September 2007 15:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

portnoy probably,followed closely by sabbath

Zeno, Wednesday, 26 September 2007 17:38 (eleven years ago) Permalink

well,Ladbrokes.com, who previously guessed the nobel prize winner in the last 4 years,placing Roth as the winner in 2007...

Zeno, Tuesday, 9 October 2007 23:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

...it seems they were wrong this time...

Zeno, Friday, 12 October 2007 11:22 (eleven years ago) Permalink

four years pass...

JUST finished The Human Stain - JESUS CHRIST WHAT A NOVEL

Blue Collar Retail Assistant (Dwight Yorke), Thursday, 4 October 2012 12:40 (six years ago) Permalink


unprotectable tweetz (schlump), Thursday, 4 October 2012 15:50 (six years ago) Permalink

yeah, probably his best.
JUST finished The Ghost Writer - JESUS CHRIST WHAT A NOVEL

nostormo, Thursday, 4 October 2012 18:34 (six years ago) Permalink

I've only read Goodbye and Everyman, and liked the latter a lot. WHAT AN ENDING

Raymond Cummings, Thursday, 4 October 2012 23:59 (six years ago) Permalink

i read the ghost writer last year, MAN IT WAS PRETTY OKAY

set the controls for the heart of the congos (thomp), Friday, 5 October 2012 00:00 (six years ago) Permalink

the next two zuckerman books i read those too THEY WERE SORT OF ALRIGHT I GUESS

set the controls for the heart of the congos (thomp), Friday, 5 October 2012 00:00 (six years ago) Permalink

i read that wwii alternate history one more recently IVE READ BETTER NOVELS

set the controls for the heart of the congos (thomp), Friday, 5 October 2012 00:04 (six years ago) Permalink

His best novels:

The Counterlife
The Ghost Writer
The Prague Orgy

but those late nineties novels have extraordinary things.

the ones that I'm near most: fellow outcasts and ilxors (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 October 2012 00:22 (six years ago) Permalink

Patrimony is of my favorite non-fiction books by anybody.

the ones that I'm near most: fellow outcasts and ilxors (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 5 October 2012 00:23 (six years ago) Permalink

i had what i thought was a great idea for a novel once, until 10 seconds on google informed me it was 'the ghost writer.' :(

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Friday, 5 October 2012 00:33 (six years ago) Permalink

EVERYMAN definitely a fav, if only for so succinctly doing everything i want/love from roth

PATRIMONY something i finally started reading a week or two ago, & have been distracted from but hope to return to at some point. start was sobering.

unprotectable tweetz (schlump), Friday, 5 October 2012 01:37 (six years ago) Permalink

I have those three Zuckerman novels in a single volume. I pretty much read a Roth novel each fall, so time to do those.

Norah Jones Protest Vote (Eazy), Friday, 5 October 2012 14:02 (six years ago) Permalink

I've got When She Was Good to start on the way home tonight. I HAVEN'T STARTED IT YET, GIVE ME A BREAK

Ismael Klata, Friday, 5 October 2012 14:09 (six years ago) Permalink

three years pass...



circa1916, Friday, 24 June 2016 15:15 (two years ago) Permalink

for those whove been waiting to see Dakota fanning vomit in ewen mcgregors face

johnny crunch, Friday, 24 June 2016 15:27 (two years ago) Permalink

how does one fan vomit? :)

helpless before THRILLARY (Dr Morbius), Friday, 24 June 2016 15:28 (two years ago) Permalink

Another downtempo version of Mad World? How fresh.

doug watson, Friday, 24 June 2016 17:50 (two years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

American Pastoral

flappy bird, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 05:04 (one year ago) Permalink

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