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review Everyman ´ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ó There is no decorated American writer living today than Philip Roth the New York Times best selling author of American Pastoral The Human Stain and The Plot Against America He has won a Pulitzer Prize two National Book Awards two National Book Critics Circle Awards two PENFaulkner Awards and numeroPENFaulkner Awards and numerous other distinctionsThe hero of Everyman is obsessed with mortality As he reminds himself at one point I'm 34 Worry about oblivion when you're 75 But he cannot help himself He is the ex husband in three marriages gone wrong He is the fath. Almost perfectly balanced Everyman reads almost like a funeral dirge The unnamed protagonist goes over various milestones in his personal life and reflects on the inevitability of death and the difficulties on love It is a uick read but it leaves a deep impression As always Roth's prose is descriptive but not overly so the dialogues are all highly realistic and the story is revealed in a manner that keeps you turning the pages and kind of wishing there were after the end For me this is another highpoint in an already celebrated and prolific career for RothI found this short but revealing interview of Philip Roth about Everyman on the NPR website Definitely worth a listenRIP 1933 2018 One of America's literary giants has left us

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There is no decorated American writer living today than Philip Roth the New York Times best selling author of American Pastoral The Human Stain and The Plot Against America He has won a Pulitzer Prize two National Book Awards two National Book Critics Circle Awards two. “In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life it goes on”—Robert Frost“The meaning of life is that it stops”—Franz KafkaEveryman is the name that the narrator’s Jewish father gives to his jewelry store to avoid scaring away the potential Christian customers with his Jewish name It is also the name of a 15th century English morality play called Everyman after which it came to mean an ordinary individual with whom the audience or reader is supposed to be able to identify easily We all go though certain things in other words and in this case of the 73 year old author the things he wants to talk about include the decay of one’s body as one ages and then that pesky unavoidable death of courseAs with Indignation and other Roth books there is a sweet reverence for craft in Everyman in this case for the work of the narrator’s jeweler father’s work But this craft awe makes you also appreciate the craft of Roth’s writing which in this novella length book is—in comparison to most of Roth’s work—lean almost subdued eschewing bombast for a kind of somber tone Oh the narrator is at times angry and unable to reconcile himself to the decline associated with aging but he’s not all Mickey Sabbath wacked out about itAnd there is also again reverence for family and tradition a theme across so much of Roth As with Sabbath’s Theater the main character a retired art director for an advertising firm finds himself close to the end in a decaying Jewish cemetery speaking with his parents where his father tells him from the graveLook back and atone for what you can atone for and make the best of what you have left”And we see our aging hero does do something in this story passionately than I can recall almost any male narrator in Roth doing; he repents among other things going here “This ordinarily even tempered man struck furiously at his heart like some fanatic at prayer and assailed by remorse not just for this mistake but for all his mistakes all the ineradicable stupid inescapable mistakes — swept away by the misery of his limitations yet acting as if life's every incomprehensible contingency were of his making” So is there guilt about issues with women and sexuality that this older surrogate narrator expresses on behalf of its author Well our narrator is old—though not without desire and with a few racy memories that would seem to at times undermine his repentance—and alone thanks to every mistake he ever made to alienate him from most women except his forgiving daughter Nancy He alienates men too The most elouent speech in this book of comparatively few Roth speeches is by the wronged ex Phoebe who had caught him in his affair with a model “the Dane” half his age for which Phoebe dumps him within a day of his mother’s funeral This is fiction and though I imagine Roth in confessional mode here remorseful for his mistakes let’s just say what we can know that this is our fictional everyman narrator’s realization that he is “—the unsuccessful father the envious brother the duplicitous husband the helpless son”But if the 15th century tale is a Morality tale a tale representing a kind of atonement this is also an atheist’s version of atonement “No hocus pocus about death and God or obsolete fantasies of heaven for him There was only our bodies born to live and die on terms decided by the bodies that had lived and died before us” Genetics in part determine who we are not predestination And it is bones that he connects to the accumulated bones of his ancestors that he knows he will soon add to not some idea of the afterlife“They were just bones bones in a box but their bones were his bones and he stood as close to the bones as he could as though the proximity might link him up with them and mitigate the isolation born of losing his future and reconnect him with all that had gone Once he was with those bones he could not leave them couldn't not talk to them couldn't but listen to them when they spoke”Through all the surgeries when he is anxious our narrator recites to himself the names of watches his father sold in his jewelry store This is an atheist’s prayer or meditation Benrus Hamilton and so on However though the spirit and determination of our everyman is important to the tale we know that the body—those bones—will ultimately lose; seven major surgeries in seven years take its toll of course But a couple days before that end in the decaying cemetery reminiscent of Hamlet our everyman meets a gravedigger who helps remind him about and comfort him with practical issues of mortality He just can’t seem to leave the cemetery and we know he will join them soon; from the first we know this tale is being told by a dead man as is the case of the nineteen year old narrator of Roth's Indignation There’s a kind of stoicism that runs through Everyman “Just take it as it comes Hold your ground and take it as it comes There’s no other way” But he’s also raging against the dying of the light He could never do what his art student did give in to her pain and take sleeping pills As always—and like most everyone else—he didn't want the end to come a minute earlier than it had to This is in some ways a simple straightforward somber story but I think it is an often powerful tale of one man’s fighting off mortality fighting for his life against impossible odds It’s an older author’s novel for older readers but a very good one

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EverymanEr of two sons who detest him despite a daughter who adores him And as his health worsens he is the envious brother of a much fitter man A masterful portrait of one man's inner struggles Everyman is a brilliant showcase for one of the world's most distinguished novelis. Yesterday I read Everyman The novel's not long maybe 180 small pages and I wasn't doing anything exciting other than shopping at Costco and dodging a water balloon fight despite my protestations of “I'm not playing I'm not playing” The book intrigued me because 1 Mary one of the local librarians put it on her “recommended” shelf I mean for real in the library not on GR 2 at least two of my friends hated it and 3 I needed something short because I finished a novel Saturday and had another coming through the inter library loan system early this week I didn't hate Everyman But I thought it was yucky than goodOkay non seuitur I hope will make sense Do you read Esuire magazine I do I'm not sure why I think I read Esuire because the subscription costs five bucks a year Anyway Esuire provides hilariously weird and out of touch advice for men The writers often try to talk all tough and knowing when they recommend which of three four hundred dollar shirts you must have in your closet And how to order drinks in bars And how to talk with kids about sex And celebrity profiles in which male movie stars are held up as icons of masculinity I don't know who these people are who follow Esuire's advice about shoes and women and money but they're way loaded than me and crazy insecureThe guy in Everyman I think was into Esuire That's fine Knock yourself out But Roth's primary sin is the implication in my perception that his characters are somehow representative of American males Now I guess I only know a couple 70 year olds but I doubt many are so broken up about not getting a shot at young women that they try to pick up passing joggers I also don't believe people talk with each other like the characters in Everyman They go from zero to sixty on the philosophy scale in three inches of dialogue or less The medical talk was probably the novel's most interesting element The braindead bravado and self pity got boring uickly I resent the idea that Everyman is representative of uh every man Or even most of them Or a few Most of us don't buy the belts and toys and advice recommended in Esuire It's not that the ideas are all bad We're just not from Esuire world It's a goofy planet somewhere in the same solar system as Everyman Go at your own risk I'll give Roth another shot and I kind of remember liking American Pastoral but I hope his other work is better