Indignation by Philip Roth

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Against the backdrop of the Korean War, a young man faces life’s unimagined chances and terrifying consequences.

It is 1951 in America, the second year of the Korean War. A studious, law-abiding, intense youngster from Newark, New Jersey, Marcus Messner, is beginning his sophomore year on the pastoral, conservative campus of Ohio’s Winesburg College. And why is he there and not at the local college in Newark where he originally enrolled? Because his father, the sturdy, hard-working neighborhood butcher, seems to have gone mad -- mad with fear and apprehension of the dangers of adult life, the dangers of the world, the dangers he sees in every corner for his beloved boy.

As the long-suffering, desperately harassed mother tells her son, the father’s fear arises from love and pride. Perhaps, but it produces too much anger in Marcus for him to endure living with his parents any longer. He leaves them and, far from Newark, in the midwestern college, has to find his way amid the customs and constrictions of another American world.

Indignation, Philip Roth’s twenty-ninth book, is a story of inexperience, foolishness, intellectual resistance, sexual discovery, courage, and error. It is a story told with all the inventive energy and wit Roth has at his command, at once a startling departure from the haunted narratives of old age and experience in his recent books and a powerful addition to his investigations of the impact of American history on the life of the vulnerable individual.

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 September 16, 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 258 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Indignation

The New York Times

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And he enrolls in R.O.T.C., having every expectation that when he graduates he will be sent to serve as a lieutenant in Korea, where the war is already entering a second horrible year: “I thought my chances for survival would be far better if I entered the Army as an officer, especially if, on t...

Sep 16 2008 | Read Full Review of Indignation

The New York Times

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In his new novel, “Indignation,” Philip Roth withholds a crucial piece of information — and that’s an understatement — until about a quarter of the way through.

Sep 19 2008 | Read Full Review of Indignation

The Guardian

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When it was announced in 2004 that Philip Roth's forthcoming novel, The Plot Against America, imagined his childhood under a crypto-fascist president, many readers assumed that he was targeting George Bush.

Sep 20 2008 | Read Full Review of Indignation

The Guardian

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Indignation by Philip Roth Find this on the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop It is 1951, the Korean war has entered its bloodiest phase, and Marcus Me...

Aug 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Indignation

The Guardian

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Philip Roth's astounding and sustained period of late creativity has been notable for one unifying preoccupation: death.

Sep 14 2008 | Read Full Review of Indignation

BC Books

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But the piquant flavor of the 1950s, which merely stood as the status quo for Roth in Goodbye, Columbus, is now a familiar ingredient in the type of modern American period fiction that has gradually become another Roth trademark.

Oct 02 2008 | Read Full Review of Indignation

Book Reporter

This maddened paternalism drives Marcus from his home --- lest his father drive him mad too --- and he journeys all the way to middle-of-nowhere Winesburg College in Winesburg, Ohio.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of Indignation

Entertainment Weekly

Since The Plot Against America in 2004, Philip Roth, 75, has scaled back with three short novels in a row: Everyman, Exit Ghost, and now Indignation, the most blistering and successful of the three minor (only for Roth) books.

Sep 12 2008 | Read Full Review of Indignation

The Telegraph

'The car in which I had taken Olivia to dinner and then out to the cemetery - a historic vehicle, even a monument of sorts, in the history of fellatio's advent onto the Winesburg campus in the second half of the twentieth century - went careering off to the side.' Yes, it's the new Phi...

Sep 20 2008 | Read Full Review of Indignation

Review (Barnes & Noble)

The reason they designated 2013 for the final book is that, at the time the series began, five years or so ago, they laid out a table of contents for each book, and the last book, as of that date, would have come out in 2013.

Nov 03 2008 | Read Full Review of Indignation

In The Plot Against America Roth wove the family story into the tapestry of the story of the larger world around them in a way that showed the reader how vitally connected the two were, and the humanity of the characters and their plights caused all but the most heartless to commiserate.

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London Review of Books

the dean dismisses his complaints about roommates as proof of his intolerance, and Marcus silently cries: ‘Indignation!’ When the dean starts to quiz him about girls Marcus rises, inspired by the Chinese anthem, to protest against this intrusive interrogation.

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If Philip Roth were more lovable, he would have been universally recognized as the premier American novelist of the past 50 years.

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Broad Street Review

HECHTMAN I want to write a review of Philip Roth’s new book, Indignation.

Nov 08 2008 | Read Full Review of Indignation

Socialist Review

Each night Marcus spends in the library is, in his father's mind, a wild night out at the pool tables in town, derailing his son's life forever: "'Oh, Christ, you sound like a fortune cookie.' 'Do I?

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Dossier Journal

Marcus and his mother flirt with freedom — she by divorce, he with Olivia Hutton — but their fear of abandoning the crazy kosher butcher leaves them chained to the madness of convention.

Oct 31 2008 | Read Full Review of Indignation

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