Thursday, September 15, 2011


Once again, the sex-obsessed Philip Roth doesn't disappoint. Still, the man has a way with words, whether he's giving his protagonist's cynical views on marriage ("…like priests going into the church: they take the vow of chastity….") or describing his lover Consuela's "aggressive yielding." David Kepesh is a 70-year-old divorced college professor who also has regular TV and NPR spots. Thanks in part to his celebrity, he is able to strike up an affair with a female student at the end of every term. Consuela, however, becomes his obsession, long after their break-up. His son Kenny can't bear to repeat his father's sin of leaving their family, even though he's miserable in his own marriage. The irony of Kenny's martyrdom is one of the more interesting subplots. He is leading a double life, keeping his marriage intact but at the same time cozying up to his mistress's parents. Roth's female characters are seldom more than sex objects or featureless wives, but in this novel, Consuela and David both become infinitely more human at the end.

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