The Humbling

The Humbling

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Houghton
A haunting, incisive and honest new work of fiction from a legendary writer, told with Roth's inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, that strips off all the ways in which we persuade ourselves of our solidity.

Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth’s startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, "are melted into air, into thin air." When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. "Something fundamental has vanished." His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can’t persuade him to make a comeback.

Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day’s journey into night, told with Roth’s inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life’s performances—talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation—are stripped off.

The Humbling is Roth’s thirtieth book.



Baker & Taylor
Presents the story of Simon Axler--an actor in his sixties who has lost his wife, his audience, and confidence in his talent--whose risky and aberrant desire points toward a dark and shocking end.

Blackwell North Amer
Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth's new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, "are melted into air, into thin air." When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. "Something fundamental has vanished." His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can't persuade him to make a comeback.
Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counter-plot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day's journey into night, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life's performances - talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation - are stripped off.

Baker
& Taylor

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Pastoral offers the story of Simon Axler--an actor in his sixties who has lost his wife, his audience and confidence in his talent--whose risky and aberrant desire points toward a dark and shocking end.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 9780547239699
0547239696
Branch Call Number: FICTION ROTH
Characteristics: 140 p.

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Chapel_Hill_KenMc Dec 20, 2014

Surely Roth is capable of much better. He needs to get away from his self-referential elderly male protagonists living out sexual and narcissistic fantasies.

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