The Ghost Writer introduces Nathan Zuckerman in the 1950s, a budding writer infatuated with the great books, discovering the contradictory claims of literature and experience while an overnight guest in the secluded New England farmhouse of his idol, E. I. Lonoff.
At Lonoff's, Zuckerman meets Amy Bellette, a haunting young woman of indeterminate foreign background who turns out to be a former student of Lonoff's and who may also have been his mistress. Zuckerman, with his active, youthful imagination, wonders if she could be the paradigmatic victim of Nazi persecution. If she were, it might change his life.
The first volume in the Zuckerman Bound trilogy and epilogue, The Ghost Writer is about the tensions between literature and life, artistic truthfulness and conventional decency - and about those implacable practitioners who live with the consequences of sacrificing one for the other.
©1979 Philip Roth (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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"Turning Sentences Around"
“I know the kind of man I am and the kind of writer. I have my own kind of bravery, and please, let’s leave it at that.”
― Philip Roth, The Ghost Writer
I've read a ton of Roth, but have yet to really engage the Zuckerman series. The Ghost Writer is book one in the four book cycle Zuckerman Bound:
1. The Ghost Writer (1979)
2. Zuckerman Unbound (1981)
3. The Anatomy Lesson (1983)
4. The Prague Orgy (1985)
It is hard to engage some of the more specific reasons WHY I loved this book -- without giving away some of the more the dramatic elements. However, within that constraint I CAN say I loved how Roth explores both what it means to be a Jewish writer (with all the expectations that come with that occupation in a post-holocaust world) and what it means to be a fiction writer period. How art reflects life and life is impacted by the work and the flow of art. There are few living writers whose output I respect more than Philip Roth, and while I don't think his 80s novels stand up entirely to later novels, he is still stretching the limits of prose and dangling ideas and situations that are both entertaining and almost absurd.
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