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Angrier than thou

Philip Roth is one of the great writers of our time. At his best he mixes great rage with great craft, says Judith Flanders. So why has he written another disappointing novel?

By Judith Flanders   May 2000

In the last three years, Philip Roth has published three novels which, according to his publisher, form a “trilogy of postwar American lives.” In so far as they deal with three important postwar episodes and their fallouts, this seems a fair description. But can we really equate Vietnam (American Pastoral) and McCarthyism (I Married a Communist), with the inability of Clinton’s trousers to stay zipped (The Human Stain)? Should we even try?

Roth seems in no doubt. But then doubt has never been a Roth characteristic; he has always been enraged by stupidity, by dullness, by the foolishness which can…

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