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I Married A Communist [Kindle Edition]

Philip Roth
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Ira Ringold (now Iron Rinn) is a self-educated radio actor married to spoilt, rags-to- riches beauty and silent-film star, Eve Frame. He is a Communist, she is passionately and irrationally anti-Semitic (in spite of her own Jewish origins). Roth's alter-ego narrator Nathan Zuckerman--an idealistic admirer of Ira as a boy--uncovers the story of Eve's betrayal of Ira to a gossip-columnist, and Nathan's own unknowing involvement with the blacklistings and ruined careers of the immediate post-war period. Roth's characteristically acerbic writing and keen eye for emotional detail reaches to the heart of this moment of high American tragedy, a point at which the American dream was damaged beyond recovery.

The McCarthy era has faded, eerily, into nostalgia, just as Capitol Hill produces its own nineties version of witch-hunt and communal obsession with enemies of the state, and perversions of justice perpetrated in democracy's name. Roth avoids nostalgia by making his narrator an active, if unwitting participant in the original drama, caught up in political currents and counter-currents he did not comprehend at the time. --Lisa Jardine


"A passionate and coruscating American tragedy" Financial Times "Roth explores our expedients and tragedies with a masterly, often unnerving, blend of tenderness, harshness, insight and wit...a gripping novel" New York Times Book Review "Roth remains as edgy, as furious, as funny, and as dangerous as he was forty years ago" New York Review of Books "Quintessential Philip Roth" Sunday Telegraph "I Married a Communist proves that, following the success of Sabbath's Theater and American Pastoral, he remains on extraordinary form... Wonderful storytelling and characterisation" -- Erica Wagner Guardian, Books of the Year

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 500 KB
  • Print Length: 348 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0395933463
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New Ed edition (23 Dec. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GKMUG2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #144,223 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

In 1997, Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House and in 2002 the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction. He has twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has won the PEN/Faulkner Award three times. In 2005 The Plot Against America received the Society of American Historians' Prize for "the outstanding historical novel on an American theme for 2003-2004". Recently Roth received PEN's two most prestigious prizes: in 2006 the PEN/Nabokov Award and in 2007 the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for achievement in American fiction. Roth is the only living American writer to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roth is a master 25 Feb. 2002
By A Customer
I thought this was a wonderful novel. It throws light on a subject not much understood (left-wing politics in the USA) but its key themes are those of betrayal and (typically for Roth) the difficulties in really understanding others and their motives. I found the ending almost breathtakingly beautiful. Roth is up there with Shakespeare in his ability to mix the sacred and profane. I doubt there is a better contemporary writer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Powerful Roth Take On The Human Condition 30 Oct. 2012
This 1998 novel by Philip Roth is another in the series featuring his most prolific fictional protagonist, Nathan Zuckerman. Here, Zuckerman has reached late middle age (his 60s), and following a career as a playwright, is now something of recluse. The entire I Married A Communist Novel consists of an extended account of a meeting between Zuckerman and his erstwhile college teacher and fellow Jew, the 90-year old Murray Ringold, as the two reflect (primarily) on the life of Murray's brother, one time Zinc miner and latterly radio theatre star and notorious communist Ira Ringold (otherwise known as Iron Rinn). Predominantly set in Roth's home territory of Newark, New Jersey, what on the surface may sound like the transcription of a relatively dry, second-hand life-story is transformed by Roth's masterly prose and skill at characterisation into a devastating commentary on the fallibilities of the human condition, as exhibited across a range of compelling cast members, and fictionally related during a key period of US history, in the immediate aftermath of WWII.

Indeed, although some commentators have interpreted the character of Ira Ringold's wife, established film star Eve Frame, as a fictional incarnation of Roth's ex-wife Claire Bloom, I prefer to think of the novel's characters as being firmly based in (and formed from) its post-WWII setting, when US paranoia (predominantly around Communism, but also Jewishness) was at one of its (many) periods of peak intensity. Roth again uses a 'semi-fictional' approach (as in Operation Shylock and The Plot Against America), whereby the novel's fictional events are depicted in relation to real-life developments (e.g. the anti-communist HUAC investigations and Richard Nixon's resignation), thereby enhancing the novel's sense of realism.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars American beauty 9 Oct. 2005
Roth is an outstanding prose writer, and "I married a Communist" shows him at his best. Illustrating the conflicts of McCarthy-era American through the tale of pugnacious Communist Ira Ringold, Roth creates a panoply of interesting characters set in a powerful narrative with a slow-building, satisfying storyline.
One reservation: Roth is occasionally carried away by his own writing skill. Result: his otherwise excellent dialogue sometimes goes on at excessive length: the book would be more readable edited down by 30 pages.
Conclusion: excellent heavyweight literary fiction with a few dull patches.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Let it first be said: Philip Roth is a genius. His writing is astounding, both for its gorgeous display of language and, just as important, for its truth of character and humanity corruption.
"I Married A Communist", the second in the author's trilogy about the huge political movements shaping post-WWII American history (Vietnam, McCarthyism and, with his latest, "The Human Stain", the Clinton era and p.c.-ness), is a very, very good book. However, "American Pastoral" it ain't.
In this second volume, Roth tells the story of Iron Rinn, a militantly naiive political figure of the post-war generation. The themes are typically Rothian: definitions of success, alienation, what it means to belong, what it means to separate. And, while the plot is fascinating and there are portions of the book that are written so magnificently you'll want to weep, there is a remote quality --- a third-person-ness and therefore an aloofness --- that detracts from the overall effectiveness.
Still, the book deserves four stars because it's part of the Roth canon. He's always worth reading and always astounding and delightful and depressing and devastating. Even when he's merely being a bit more mortal than we've come to expect of a writer with his gifts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening read. 30 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Human spotlights on some of the weird politics of post war USA. Brilliant take on betrayal. Excellent story telling keeps you engaged throughout.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful 20 Jan. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
no attempt at paraphrase could bring out the richness of this humane, angry, tender, stirring book. Read it, if it's your first Roth it will no way be your last.
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By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Philip Roth's I MARRIED A COMMUNIST, 1998, is one of his Zuckerman books, but one in which the author's alter ego Nathan Zuckerman simply narrates: the story of Ira Ringgold, whom he had known since his Newark Jewish childhood, as Ira was the brother of one of his favorite teachers, Murray Ringgold. Ira, perhaps defined by the fact that he was big, and rough, coming from a rough neighborhood as the Ringgold brothers did, began life as a teenage ditch digger in 1930s Depression Newark. Rode the rails, worked all over the country, as a miner, a steel worker. Joined the Army and fought during World War II. Improbably became a big radio star, and married an even bigger radio star, Eve Frame, who had been a very very big silent film star. (People who are familiar with the lives of some celebrities may well feel that Eve, a self-hating Jew born Brooklyn's Chave Fromkin, who climbs the social ladder by imitating her betters, including their anti-semitism, strongly resembles the beautiful British actress Claire Bloom, one of Roth's ex-wives. And that Roth is here further pursuing his quarrels with her.) At any rate, the fictional Eve delivers Ira into quite a desirable lifestyle, based in a Greenwich Village, Manhattan, New York townhouse, beautifully furnished, where she frequently entertains glittering figures in the arts and literature. But he can't get on with her daughter from a previous marriage, Sylphid.

And Ira is a confirmed, dedicated Communist, bullying everyone around him with his political views, furthermore using his radio show to put forth the party's views.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject matter but long winded in places
Good to have some light shed on an era and subject I know little about. I was not wholly satisfied with the novel, however, since it is engrossing on some occasions and then drags... Read more
Published 4 months ago by sarenj kadir
1.0 out of 5 stars bad
Half of the pages were ripped out - terrible!
Published 4 months ago by afp
4.0 out of 5 stars I think this is Roth at his best. He depicts people living through the...
I think this is Roth at his best. He depicts people living through the anti communist witchhunt with such realism and sympathy. Ira, particularly, a memorable portrayal.
Published 4 months ago by MRS FMA HUTCHISON
4.0 out of 5 stars Roth's narrative is a joy as is his understanding of the feelings of...
An interesting take on the era of the communist witch-hunt. Roth's narrative is a joy as is his understanding of the feelings of his characters. All in all a very good read.
Published 6 months ago by David Muil
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Readable
Found this at times a little drawn out and repetitious, and all the the jumps in perspective a bit tiring at times. Read more
Published on 16 Jan. 2013 by r m moreira
3.0 out of 5 stars for devotees of american political history
The ageing novelist Zuckerman meets his now 90 year old English teacher and they recollect the English teacher's life, blighted by blacklisting in the McCarthy era - and his... Read more
Published on 16 Dec. 2011 by William Jordan
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather rambling
An interesting novel in which the author portrays very clearly the ethos of a time and place. Some good stuff, but this is too rambling and disjointed. Read more
Published on 25 Jan. 2009 by John Hopper
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