It's a fictional streetscape we wander, here, a metropolis whose buildings, boulevards, and back alleys are in a constant state of flux. This is every place, and yet, no place at all - a city of dreams and a dream of a city.

Here, we explore the life and work of Ivan Illich and his circle of collaborators. There's no comprehensive index to the articles published, but we invite you to use the Search box, to the left, and to explore the Archive links that appear at the bottom of each page. Comments are welcomed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Humbling, by Philip Roth

I have just read Philip Roth's latest novel, The Humbling. Perhaps novella is a better word. It's short.
I enjoyed it, a good deal, even, but I have to wonder what the point is he's trying to make. An aging actor figures he's all washed up, can't act, but then, he finds himself in an unlikely affair, feels much happier; but then, complications ensue, and .... I won't spoil it. There's more to it than that, actually. There are echoes, for sure, of Sabbath's Theater, a marvelous book that, by chance, I read just a few weeks ago, but in that story, Roth is playing (masterfully) a massive pipe organ, all stops out, wrestling with Death. In The Humbling, he appears to be using a simpler keyboard and only dabbling. The characters are well drawn and convincing, the story well told, the sex quite Rothianic, but in the end I am left wondering. This book is a miniature and I am not sure that, Roth-wise, it is breaking much new ground. But I may well be missing something.

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Santa Rosa, California, United States
Writer, photographer, music fan; father and husband living in northern Calif.