• RRP: £8.99
  • You Save: £1.00 (11%)
FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books.
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
The Humbling has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Ships from the UK. Former Library books. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Your purchase also supports literacy charities.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Humbling Paperback – 2 Sep 2010

3.4 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
£7.99
£1.92 £0.01
Note: This item is eligible for click and collect. Details
Pick up your parcel at a time and place that suits you.
  • Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
  • Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
How to order to an Amazon Pickup Location?
  1. Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
  2. Dispatch to this address when you check out
Learn more
£7.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions


Frequently Bought Together

  • The Humbling
  • +
  • Indignation
  • +
  • Everyman
Total price: £25.97
Buy the selected items together

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (2 Sept. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099535653
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099535652
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 429,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A literary colossus, whose ability to inspire, astonish and enrage his readers is undiminished'" (Washington Post)

"There is a clarity, almost a ruthlessness, to his work, which makes the experience of reading any of his books a bracing, wild ride... He is the last of the giants" (The Times)

"Roth...knows no limits, which is part of the fun of reading him" (New Stateman)

"While the other big beasts of his literary generation lost it one by one, Roth has enjoyed a flowering of late form barely seen since Yeats." (Literary Review)

"Roth is no longer a novelist of comic exuberance, but of thoughtful meditation about life and increasingly death; he is our surviving laureate of lateness. His new work will not detain you long, but it will linger" (Telegraph)

Book Description

Philip Roth's entire oeuvre – 31 books – to be reissued in electric new Vintage jackets for October 2016

See all Product Description

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of us who have read most, if not all, Philip Roth, the Humbling is not much more than a novella or three part short story about the humbling of 20th century men - first by self doubt and collapse of vitality, then by love, and finally by the tragic realisation that life and love are transitory. Roth chooses another reflection of himself - Simon Axler - an extrovert actor, not an introvert writer (who both live the lives of hermits!) - to be his protagonist. Women often skewer Roth as a sexist male, but he writes intimately from his own, male perspective as well as anyone.This book is guaranteed to offend the feminists, as Axler's nemesis is a younger lesbian who manipulates and uses him (and others) that he has known since birth.Much has been made of the sex scenes in the book, and they are particularly well written. Roth is obsessed by sex and death, and so is the story.

Though fluent and spare, the prose is involving. It's really a 70 page book and can be read in one sitting with ease. Roth has evolved a new style, part Hemingway and part old Roth, and there are few writers in English who can match him. Let the Nobel honour the unread Armenian and little known Cambodian poets - I'll take Roth, slim or fat, bare boned or brawny.
Comment 15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Now, don't get me wrong. I am a MASSIVE Roth fan, but I've now read this novella through twice and still feel the same way: It's a bit, well, disappointing.

Yes, the plot is typically Rothian - old man, young woman, sex, disappointment, death. Yes, there are some spectacular shots at erotica and yes, the pace of the narrative holds no prisoners, but it just feels like a first draft, kind of empty and rushed and therefore a little shallow. From a hundred other authors I daresay it would be an accomplishment, but not from Roth. To be totally fair, the speed of the narrative can easily trick you into thinking it's exciting, placing it in the "sizzling page-turner" genre, but Roth is much more than that.

Sorry Philip. When's the next one out?
3 Comments 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Reclusive, introverted author Philip Roth is reclusive, extroverted sexagenarian actor Simon Axler in The Humbling, the latest book from the elder statesman of American literature. Axler had been the finest stage actor of his generation but, after giving disastrous performances as Macbeth and Prospero at the Kennedy Center, realised that his acting mojo had forsaken him and, without really knowing it, he had become a pitiable ham. Vowing never to tread the boards again, Axler spiralled into depression and rarely left the house. Unfortunately for him, his wife Victoria was still quite capable of leaving and promptly packed her bags and moved to California. Completely alone and certain that he will never act again, Axler decided turn his shotgun on himself, but found that he that was not even capable of playing the role of a suicide.

Of course this is Philip Roth [and one of his various literary personas] that we are talking about and so The Humbling quickly ventures into far more peculiar territory. Sometime after his failed suicide attempt, Axler is visited by Pegeen Stapleford, the forty-year-old lesbian daughter of actors that Axler has worked with in the past. Pegeen had recently taken up a teaching post at the local university and is newly single after ending her relationship of six years when her partner decided to transition to become a man. Now, Axler may have lost his acting ability but his seduction skills must be second to none since, before you can even say bi-curious, he and Pegeen are shacking up together. The Humbling then takes shape as an confused odyssey of love, loss, talent, despair and three-ways.

The Humbling is not classic Philip Roth.
Read more ›
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Philip Roth fans already know what to expect: a man in his sixties who lives alone, an erotic affair which recharges him. It's seeing how Roth tells this same story differently, despite the repeating elements, which is so satisfying. In this new book, Simon Axler is a famous classical actor who has suddenly lost his power to act, who retreats from life and is hospitalised with suicidal thoughts. His story is told in spare prose, over just 140 pages, so you could read this book in just an evening. Yet every page of it is haunting.

We have learned to expect vivid sexual encounters from Roth, but the first one in this book has terrible shock value, so much so that- like the woman who witnesses it- we almost don't believe it. The rest of the book also has shock value: Simon Axler eventually begins a very charged affair, which involves the fulfilment of some of the cheesiest stereotypes of male sexual fantasy: 'converting' lesbians to heterosexuality, picking up strange women for threesomes. Yet even here, on what could be such dodgy ground, Roth's ability as a writer leaves you questioning your responses, your own reading of the tale.

Though there is significant sexual content, really the novel is about what happens when you cannot continue to be the person you once were, it is about love and how that comes about, and how awfully it can end (one of my favourite characters in all Roth is Louise, the insanely jealous ex-girlfriend/now stalker whose presence lurks in the background of much of the book). The novel is short, and spare, but it has great power, and when I hold it in my hands I feel excitement that great writers like Roth are producing work during our own lifetime.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback