Archive for the ‘Man Booker International Prize’ Category

THE COUNTERLIFE by Philip Roth

Long though it is, this quotation sums up just about everything about Roth’s magnificent novel of 1976: its strange title, its grand theme, its somewhat simplistic view of history, and its humor that jumps cheerfully into offensive self-mockery. A long section of the novel takes place in Israel shortly after the Yom Kippur War, when the stereotypes were indeed being turned on their heads, and conversely significant criticism of the state was beginning to be heard from the West. But Roth’s principal subject is not the engaged Jews who assert their selfhood either through Zionism or religion, but the countless secular Jews like himself, living securely in a distant country; how do they establish their identity, especially in mid-life when the question of “Is this really all I am?” typically arises.

January 7, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Facing History, Israel, Literary, Man Booker International Prize, National Book Critic Circle (NBCC), y Award Winning Author

NEMESIS by Philip Roth

“Tender” and “noble” are two words I have never used to describe a Roth character. In fact, Roth’s usual suspects are razor sharp with a mean streak of self-loathing to befit the most unlikable anti-heroes of the American literary canon. Not to mention, most of his characters are so self-obsessed and entrenched in complicated sexual proclivities that they seldom do the right thing. And much to the chagrin of my feminist friends, I’m amused, if not seduced, by these delinquent male protagonists, and look forward to their self-deprecating demise each and every time I encounter them.

Which is precisely why my love for Eugene “Bucky” Cantor bemuses me in a way I can’t describe. Cantor, the leading man in Roth’s latest novel NEMESIS, is so decent, so likable in a non-Rothian way, that if you’re a stalwart fan of Alexander Portnoy or David Kepesh, two of the most deliciously depraved characters to ever grace Roth’s fiction, then Bucky Cantor materializes like Mother Theresa. And yet never before have I ached for such a character – identified with such a man whose nobility and innocence would have previously escaped me.

October 16, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Literary, Man Booker International Prize, NE & New York, y Award Winning Author

TOO MUCH HAPPINESS by Alice Munro

It is an honor to review TOO MUCH HAPPINESS by Alice Munro, who I consider the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language. Ms. Munro is Canadian and lives in Clinton, Ontario. During her writing career she has garnered many awards including the Lannan Literary Award, the United States National Book Critics Circle Award, and the most recent 2009 Man Booker International Prize. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, the Atlantic Monthly, as well as many other literary publications. I consider her an icon.

November 19, 2009 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: ,  · Posted in: Literary, Man Booker International Prize, Short Stories, y Award Winning Author