Sunday, January 25, 2015

Goodbye, Columbus - Philip Roth

Found this book on my office book exchange shelves, and I recognized the author's name as being someone I had heard of but had never read before. The book then gathered dust on the TBR pile for a while until I made it a part of the Back to the Classics Challenge this year.

I actually made a slight error when I chose the category for this book - I used the "person's name in the title" category, but after reading the titular novella, I realized it refers to the city of Columbus, Ohio, and not a person with that name. Whoops! However, some quick research shows that that city was named after Christopher Columbus, so it is technically a person's name... Karen K., if you are reading this, I can swap this book's category with the "novella" category, as my chosen novella, Steppenwolf, is evidently a nickname, so let me know. Until then I will just leave it as is.

And now on to an actual book review!

This book is actually made up of the novella-length story "Goodbye, Columbus" as well as 5 additional short stories, although I didn't figure that out until I started reading. I can see that Roth's writing would have been a hit when it came out. It's very frank and the writing is very naturalistic. I would love to discuss the themes - it seems like Roth is working through the experience of being Jewish in America after World War II, and issues like assimilation, the aftermath of the Holocaust, general suburban life and the generation gap of young people vs their parents in the post-war era, etc. Of all these stories I think I liked the title novella, "Defender of the Faith," and "Eli the Fanatic" the best. I'd love to hear from other readers of these stories so feel free to leave a comment for discussion! In any case, I think I will add Portnoy's Complaint to my mental TBR list so I can explore more of this author's work. Recommended.

I'm also claiming this book for the Color-Coded Reading Challenge, under the "any other color" category - I think this qualifies for violet/mauve/purple, don't you?

No comments:

Post a Comment