Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction
The Counterlife is about people living their dreams of renewal and escape, some of them going so far as to risk their lives to alter their destinies. Wherever they find themselves, the characters of The Counterlife are tempted by the prospect of an alternative existence.
Illuminating these lives in free-fall and transformation is the acrobat mind of novelist Nathan Zuckerman. His is the sceptical, enveloping intelligence that calculates the price that's paid in the struggle to change personal fortune and reshape history, whether in a dentist's office in suburban New Jersey; a tradition-bound English Village in Gloucestershire; a church in London's West End; or in a tiny desert settlement in Israel's occupied West Bank. Shot through with head-turning dualities, as daring as it is moving, The Counterlife reinvents the novel with style, wit and grace.
Roth is a comic genius... In this book (wonderfully sharp, worryingly intense) he is an electrifier
Unquestionably his masterpiece
Boisterously serious, dense, fizzing and formally audacious... The final thing that needs to be said about The Counterlife...is that it's fucking funny
No other writer combines such a surface of colloquial relaxation with such a dense load of mediating intelligence - Roth has never written more scrupulously or, in spots, more lovingly
Magnificent...splendid... I hope The Counterlife felt, as Mr. Roth wrote it, like a triumph, because that is certainly how it reads to me
Wedding season took a hit this summer, so we've made a bouquet of the best scenes in literature to get lost in before your big day can arrive.
Here are five quotes from The Plot Against America, a counterfactual nightmare and a powerfully insightful tale of tyranny taking over, that can teach us about the present.