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Customer Review

on 19 September 2010
One of the joys of starting to read a novel by Philip Roth is that you do not know what to expect. This one is purportedly autobiographical - but it doesn't seem so likely to be genuinely autobiographical as, say, Patrimony (about his father). There's the author writing some years after the date at which the book is set, Philip Roth as protagonist, then another "Philip Roth" who is the double of Philip Roth who turns up in Jerusalem at the same time as the "real" Roth, with a bizarre plan for saving the Jews from their next nuclear conflict with the Arabs...and there are encounters with a friend from Roth's student days 30 years on, who has - apparently (though is it all a front?) - become a paranoid zealot, taking on the griefs of his father - and with Mossad (who orginally turn up in disguised form).

All in all, a tour de force. But, for me, not such an enjoyable tour de force as some of his earlier work (Our Gang is a great political satire). For the theme of encountering a double, Jose Saramago's The Double is more entertaining (though this is good); for the rights and wrongs of the Middle East, probably best not to seek out fiction! Worth reading, but may be best to start elsewhere with Roth...for example My Life as A Man.
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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