Saturday, December 17, 2011

ghost writer

I've only just read my first Philip Roth story, and then along comes this one at the local library book sale. The Ghost Writer is from 1979--coincidentally, the same year as the last book I read; The Black Tower--and is the first in a short series of books about Nathan Zuckerman, an up and coming writer from Newark, New Jersey.

This short novel (novella?) or even long short-story, is written first person from Zuckerman's POV and is therefore rings as at least somewhat autobiographical. Whether or not this is true, any more than any work of fiction is partially autobiographical, I really don't know, but Roth's observations of people, their mannerisms, and his carefully crafted sentences shined in this little story.

I read this book TODAY! And I don't read books in a day. Ever.

"Her luminous, shameless presence in the very front row (and her white jersey dress; and her golden hair, out of some rustic paradise) led me to recall October afternoons half a lifetime ago when I sat like a seething prisoner, practicing my penmanship at my sloping school desk while the World Series was being broadcast live to dinky radios in every gas station in America."

Sentences like this are what prevented this book being put down. I'll be prowling the library book sales and stacks for more Philip Roth now.

Read this book.

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