I’m listening to Roth’s The Dying Animal. Am I a bad man for thinking it’s soooo much better than Roth’s lauded American Pastoral? Um, it is. All I remember about AP is a guy named Swede, a bridge, and a barbeque. DA, it’s so … well, misogynistic. But Roth, that’s where he shines, isn’t it? Kepesh is an a-hole (at least on disc one) but you can smell the pleasure Roth had in writing it. AP felt like a chore, like Roth was putting the pieces where they were expected to be by awards judges. DA is looser. I haven’t read the other two Kepesh books (The Breast and The Professor of Desire; I own the latter) but this one’s got the goods. Again, 1/4 of the way through.
Kakutani didn’t like it, as she found Kepesh unsympathetic, which I’m not sure is all that disappointing to Roth, but Franzen, it makes him mad, it’s not fair!!! A.O. Scott, she felt bad for Kepesh, which, hmm, we’ll see.
Here’s Charlie Brown.