Exit Ghost by Philip Roth
(Nathan Zuckerman)

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Synopsis

Like Rip Van Winkle returning to his hometown to find that all has changed, Nathan Zuckerman comes back to New York, the city he left eleven years before. Alone on his New England mountain, Zuckerman has been nothing but a writer: no voices, no media, no terrorist threats, no women, no news, no tasks other than his work and the enduring of old age.

Walking the streets like a revenant, he quickly makes three connections that explode his carefully protected solitude. One is with a young couple with whom, in a rash moment, he offers to swap homes. They will flee post-9/11 Manhattan for his country refuge, and he will return to city life. But from the time he meets them, Zuckerman also wants to swap his solitude for the erotic challenge of the young woman, Jamie, whose allure draws him back to all that he thought he had left behind: intimacy, the vibrant play of heart and body.

The second connection is with a figure from Zuckerman’s youth, Amy Bellette, companion and muse to Zuckerman’s first literary hero, E. I. Lonoff. The once irresistible Amy is now an old woman depleted by illness, guarding the memory of that grandly austere American writer who showed Nathan the solitary path to a writing vocation.

The third connection is with Lonoff’s would-be biographer, a young literary hound who will do and say nearly anything to get to Lonoff’s “great secret.” Suddenly involved, as he never wanted or intended to be involved again, with love, mourning, desire, and animosity, Zuckerman plays out an interior drama of vivid and poignant possibilities.

Haunted by Roth’s earlier work The Ghost Writer, Exit Ghost is an amazing leap into yet another phase in this great writer’s insatiable commitment to fiction.
 

About Philip Roth

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Philip Roth was born in New Jersey in 1933.  He studied literature at Bucknell University and the University of Chicago.  His first book, Goodbye, Columbus, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1960.  He has lived in Rome, London, Chicago, New York City, Princeton, and New England.  Since 1955, he has been on the faculties of the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania, where is now Adjunct Professor of English.  He is also General Editor of the Penguin Books series "Writers from the Other Europe."  Recently he has been spending half of each year in Europe, traveling and writing.
 
Published October 1, 2007 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 305 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Exit Ghost

Publishers Weekly

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Philip Roth’s 28th book is, it seems, the final novel in the Zuckerman series, which began in 1979 with The Ghostwriter . A 71-year-old Nathan Zuckerman ret

Jun 18 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

The New York Times

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Philip Roth has created a melancholy, if occasionally funny, meditation on aging, mortality, loneliness and the losses that come with the passage of time.

Oct 02 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

The New York Times

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Philip Roth’s longtime literary stand-in, Nathan Zuckerman, contends with his inevitable decline.

Oct 07 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

The New York Times

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Philip Roth’s longtime literary stand-in, Nathan Zuckerman, contends with his inevitable decline.

Oct 07 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

The Guardian

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But one also senses that Roth has chosen to write the eulogy for his generation: in a supremely poignant scene Norman Mailer gets up to speak at George Plimpton's memorial service, saddened to acknowledge that Plimpton's demise "was neither humorous nor unusual.

Sep 12 2008 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

The Guardian

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Now, Exit Ghost places Roth's alter ego Nathan Zuckerman back in New York, where he is soon entangled again with everything he set out to renounce.

Nov 10 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

The Guardian

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Even "Philip Roth", who appears in five books, turns out to be no more - or less - real than any other of Roth's counterparts on the page.

Oct 05 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

The Guardian

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We first met Nathan Zuckerman, Philip Roth alter-ego and would-be man of letters, in The Ghost Writer nearly 30 years ago.

Oct 11 2008 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

BC Books

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Over the course of three decades and nine books, Philip Roth has relied upon his most famous charact...After nine books over almost three decades, Philip Roth concludes his account of the life and times of his alter ego Nathan Zuckerman

Oct 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

NPR

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Alan Cheuse reviews Philip Roth's new novel Exit Ghost, the latest and last in a series featuring New England writer Nathan Zuckerman that began in 1979. In his final appearance, Zuckerman returns to New York City clad in diapers after living in seclusion in the Berkshires for more than a decade.

Sep 24 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

AV Club

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Nathan Zuckerman has been away for a while.

Nov 15 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

Entertainment Weekly

I'd never forgotten her.'' That ''once,'' of course, was in The Ghost Writer, the 1979 novel in which Roth formally introduced Zuckerman as an up-and-coming young author (who imagines a fetching European girl named Amy as a grown-up Anne Frank).

Oct 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

BookPage

Last year, when the New York Times asked a group of distinguished novelists to vote for one novel they considered the best of the last 25 years, six of Roth's books received multiple votes.

Sep 03 2014 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

San Francisco Chronicle

The world according to Nathan Zuckerman (and his many ghosts) is coming to an end.

Oct 05 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

Bookmarks Magazine

Patrick Kur Los Angeles Times 2.5 of 5 Stars "Roth loses his authority when he writes about Zuckerman's infatuation with Jamie, which comes off as unseemly and out of place.

Dec 03 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

Oprah.com

Philip Roth's Exit Ghost (Houghton Mifflin) marks the swan song of Nathan Zuckerman, his famous literary alter ego introduced in The Ghost Writer in 1979.

| Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

New York Magazine

He’s wrestling now not with actual desire—of which he’s become, over the years, an expert wrangler—but with a more confusing and humiliating force: what he calls “the ghost of my desire.” My reading of Exit Ghost was as volatile as a Roth affair.

Oct 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

New York Magazine

Septuagenarian Zuckerman, having fled New York eleven years earlier after his inane hate mail began to be spiced with murder threats, is now (again, like the actual Roth) the most famous literary ascetic in America, even inhabiting Lonoff’s old mountain in the Berkshires.

Sep 24 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

The Age

Zuckerman was granted a novel to himself in 1979, called The Ghost Writer, and has since appeared regularly in Roth's fiction.

Oct 09 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

A Patchwork of Books

The ten collectible bookmarks feature YA novels both to encourage teens to give books to their best friends this holiday season and to read beyond the bestseller lists.“Why give a book for a gift?” asks René Kirkpatrick, book buyer for the acclaimed All for Kids Books in Seattle.

Dec 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

A Patchwork of Books

Bark, bark, arf Bark, bark, arf Bark, bark, woof, woof, arf Bark, bark, arf Bark, bark, arf Bark, bark, woof, woof, arf Bark, bark, bark, Arf, bark, bark, bark Bark, bark, bark, woof, woof.

Apr 06 2014 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

AARP

Nathan Zuckerman is back, and, at 71 he’s in sad shape: incontinent, impotent, and prone to memory losses.

May 24 2004 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

The Blurb

I had an excuse all ready to explain to myself why I started reading Philip Roth’s new novel Exit Ghost before I read the previous book in the ’series’, The Anatomy Lesson.

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Brisbane Times

A day or two before the elections, Nathan Zuckerman - Roth's admirers will remember him from eight previous novels - sets out from his isolated house in New England on the 21/2-hour drive to New York.

Oct 15 2007 | Read Full Review of Exit Ghost (Nathan Zuckerman)

Reader Rating for Exit Ghost
73%

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