Patrimony: A True Story

Philip Roth, Author
Philip Roth, Author Simon & Schuster $19.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-70375-2
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-62373-006-2
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-09-991430-3
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-671-75862-2
Paperback - 238 pages - 978-0-679-75293-6
Hardcover - 261 pages - 978-0-7927-1179-7
Hardcover - 261 pages - 978-0-7927-1178-0
Paperback - 978-2-07-038948-3
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-4464-0023-4
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Alter ego Nathan Zuckerman doesn't appear in these pages, and neither is there any sleight of hand blurring the line between literature and life. Instead, here is Roth (NBCC Award-winning The Counterlife ) at his most humane as he pens a kaddish to his recently deceased father, Herman. A vigorous 86-year-old, Roth pere wakes up one morning and half his face is paralyzed; soon he is deaf in one ear and the verdict is a benign brain tumor. Surgery is ruled out for the octogenarian, and the author is a helpless, horrified witness to his father's humiliating demise, ``utterly isolated within a body that had become a terrifying escape-proof enclosure, the holding pen in a slaughterhouse.'' In a fast-paced, cogent memoir, Roth, whose filial devotion and awe are tempered with clear-eyed observational powers, ranges far afield and discusses the anti-Semitism of the insurance firm that employed Herman Roth for 40 years; Herman's perfectionism and his latter-day disregard for his wife whom he nevertheless elevated to quasi-sainthood after death; Herman's abandonment of his phylacteries in a locker at the local YMHA; the author's quintuple bypass surgery weeks before his father's death; and Herman's incontinence and the ample size of his genitals. BOMC alternate. (Feb.)
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