In 1951, the second year of the Korean War, a studious, law-abiding, and intense youngster from Newark, New Jersey, Marcus Messner, begins his sophomore year on the pastoral, conservative campus of Ohio's Winesburg College. And why is he there and not at a local college in Newark where he originally enrolled? Because his father, the sturdy, hardworking 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 on every corner for his beloved boy. Far from Newark, Marcus has to find his way amid the customs and constrictions of another American world.
Indignation, Philip Roth's 29th book, is a startling departure from the haunted narratives of old age and experience in Roth's recent books and a powerful exploration of a remarkable moment in American history.
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Tight, beautiful and also strange and sad.
The movie: see IT! Do NOT listen to this...
Nope. I have been off Mr. Roth since Portnoy's Complaint, and this book reminds me of why I have neither read nor listened to anything of his for decades. He was remarkably immature when he wrote about masturbating into his family's dinner some forty years ago. In all this time, he has not grown up and out of his adolescent preoccupations. The semi-final scene in the book, which is set in a fictional town called Winesburg, Ohio, at the university there: the scene is actually a very large panty-raid by the male students! Panty raids? Are we still talking about shite like this in 2016?
Something very different from this.
Mr. Chase has very limited talents, a good match for the material, actually. He reads so fast that you can't keep up, and after a while you don't care to.
It is already a wonderful movie. See it. The stars are Logan Lerman and Sarah Gadon. I had never heard of either, but they both are terrific. The movie is so much better than the book. It treats very complicated material with sensitivity. I won't spoil the plot for you, but I will say that these two young people fall in love very quickly at the ridiculously repressive University of Winesburg. The Dean of Men is a great villain: a self-righteous, bullying, intrusive, Jew-baiting, hyper-Christian who interrogates Marcus Messner as if he were already proven guilty of rape and other crimes against humanity. Sarah Gadon is a match for Lerman. Portraying a tormented young woman who, uh, surprises Marcus on their first date, she is utterly true in every scene.
Pretty obvious how much I enjoyed this, eh? Don't waste your money on the book, when the movie is being reviewed by some as the best drama of the year.
- Richard Delman