Lesser Roth is still Roth: vital, ribald, deeply human. Without the profound insight of the Zuckerman novels, Indignation is still a bildungsroman of depth and charm. The narrator enters a local New Jersey college just after the beginning of the Korean War (1950), only to find that he must move far away to escape his stifling parents. He chooses a small mid-western school where is a decided oddity: poor, Jewish, ambitious and confused about his desires for the future. A story of courage, uncertainty, and very bad choices. As usual, Roth pillories American naiveté, but he does so with a sadness that I found moving.
Philip Roth, Indignation (Viking Canada, 2008)
February 28, 2014