Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth

78%

10 Critic Reviews

I know not since "Catcher in the Rye" have I read an American novel with such pleasure.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Portnoy's Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933- )] A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature. Spielvogel says: 'Acts of exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism, auto-eroticism and oral coitus are plentiful; as a consequence of the patient's "morality," however, neither fantasy nor act issues in genuine sexual gratification, but rather in overriding feelings of shame and the dread of retribution, particularly in the form of castration.' (Spielvogel, O. "The Puzzled Penis," Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, Vol. XXIV, p. 909.) It is believed by Spielvogel that many of the symptoms can be traced to the bonds obtaining in the mother-child relationship.

With a new Afterword by the author for the 25th Anniversary edition.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Philip Roth

See more books from this Author
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 July 23, 2010 by Vintage. 289 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Portnoy's Complaint
All: 10 | Positive: 9 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Above average
on Oct 04 2011

Masterful in parts, phony in others, but obviously a "hot" best-seller.

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NY Times

Excellent

I know not since "Catcher in the Rye" have I read an American novel with such pleasure.

Read Full Review of Portnoy's Complaint | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Excellent
on Sep 07 2009

Portnoy's Complaint is still a masterclass in how to get beneath the skin of sexuality. Has any other novel managed it quite so well?

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Blog Critics

Below average
on May 08 2003

Portnoy's Complaint seems like an artifact now.

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NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Lucas Mann on May 26 2013

The novel did what...a great book must do: it allowed for secret conversations, internal chats about the prickly side of being human, the kind I was too scared to voice even in a whisper.

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NPR

Above average
on Apr 07 2008

Portnoy's Complaint did for the Jewish mother what Jaws did for the shark: took an already frightening creature and made it even scarier.

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The Moderate Voice

Above average
on Apr 01 2008

Portnoy’s Complaint holds up well, and while not as great or insightful with satire as someone like Vonnegut, for what it is, Portnoy’s Complaint certainly deserves its place in literary history.

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Carlin Romano

Above average
on May 13 2012

For our part—the readers of Portnoy's Complaint—we read with a courage of our own. We want, and want! and WANT, things to be different for us.

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Helium

Good
on Mar 15 2009

This is an odd book. Yet, highly entertaining is it as long as excessive sexual details don't deter.

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Gather Books

Good
on Sep 19 2007

I may just be a goy whose only knowledge of Jewish culture comes from sitcoms and books--not that there's anything wrong with that--but I found this book enlightening and entertaining.

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Reader Rating for Portnoy's Complaint
73%

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