Deception

Philip Roth, Author
Philip Roth, Author Simon & Schuster $18.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-70374-5
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Written entirely in unascribed dialogue (which provides the challenge of identifying the speakers), this newest novel by the NBCC Award-winning author is a clever comedy of manners that segues--as is the author's wont--into a disquisition on the distinction between literature and life. Most of the conversations are articulate, erotic pillow talk between adulterous lovers: an American writer living in London and his English mistress. She complains about the complications of her domestic life. He mainly listens: ``I'm an ecouteur--an audiophiliac. I'm a talk fetishist.'' The identification with Roth himself is clear; the male speaker refers to ``Zuckerman, my character.'' He also records conversations with other women, his former lovers. Two of them are emigrees from Eastern Europe; like the male speaker/Roth, they are outsiders in English society, where he is very conscious of British anti-Semitism. But the book is more complex than the conversational format suggests. Roth is up to his old tricks; the title has a dual meaning. In a conversation between the male character/Roth and his ``wife,'' he insists that these dialogues are purely imaginary, notes for a novel in progress. Yes, but then another conversation suggests otherwise. Who is being deceived here? It's impossible to say. First serial to Esquire. (Apr.)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!
MORE BOOKS YOU'D LIKE
X