Philip Roth (Hardcover)
Novels & Stories 1959-1962 (LOA #157): Goodbye, Columbus / Five Short Stories / Letting Go (Library of America Philip Roth Edition #1)
Library of America, 9781931082792, 913pp.
Publication Date: August 18, 2005
The title novella, Goodbye, Columbus, the story of a summer romance between a poor young man from Newark and a rich Radcliffe co-ed, is both a tightly wrought tale of youthful desire and a satiric gem that takes aim at the comfortable affluence of the postwar boom. Here and in the stories that accompany it, including “The Conversion of the Jews” and “Defender of the Faith,” Roth depicts Jewish lives in 1950s America with an unflinching sharpness of observation.
In Letting Go, a sprawling novel set largely against the backdrop of Chicago in the 1950s, Roth portrays the moral dilemmas of young people cast precipitously into adulthood, and in the process describes a skein of social and family responsibilities as they are brought into focus by issues of marriage, abortion, adoption, friendship, and career. The novel’s expansiveness provides a wide scope for Roth’s gift for vivid characterization, and in his protagonist Gabe Wallach he creates a nuanced portrait of a responsive young academic whose sense of morality draws him into the ordeals of others with unforeseen consequences.
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