The Plot Against America
is further affirmation of Philip Roths status as one of the most revered (and accomplished) of American novelists; another in a long line of highly impressive books that makes the days when he was know only for the masturbatory humour of Portnoy's Complaint
seem every remote indeed. The new book is an astonishingly ambitious entry in the genre known as alternative history, and its re-imagining of a fascist America is as plausible and terrifying as previous alternative visions by such writers as Len Deighton and Kingsley Amis (not to mention the countless SF novelists such as Philip K Dick, progenitors of the genre, invariably irritated that their concepts are hijacked by more 'literary' novelists).
In The Plot Against America, the celebrated aviator Charles Lindbergh (almost as well known for his admiration for Hitler as for the famous kidnapping of his baby) becomes President of the United States, and history takes a very different course. Roosevelt soundly defeated, Lindbergh inaugurates an isolationist, anti-war regime, as radical social change ensues; not least the growth of anti-Jewish feeling, fanned by the anti-Semitic Lindbergh. Roths Jewish protagonist, Philip, watches as his parents try to ignore the growing threat around them--initially, family holidays are ruined as hotel rooms become mysteriously unavailable, but soon deportation and worse is the order of the day. Ultimately, a fightback against the new US fascism is slowly engendered.
All of this is handled with the mastery we now routinely expect from Roth, and both characterisation and plotting are structured with total assurance. All the historical detail is terrifyingly plausible, and the final sections (in which Roth reminds us what happened in the real America) seem no more persuasive than what weve just read. A visionary, turbulent work of literature. --Barry Forshaw
'another frigteningly intense performance' -- The Sunday Telegraph
Roth's writing has never been so direct and accessible while retaining its stylistic precision and acute insights into human foibles -- Publisher's Weekly
With its intriguing premise and thriller-tense plot, it's likely that this novel will broaden Roth's readership while instigating provocative debate -- The Forecast from Publishers Weekly