Saturday, September 21, 2013

the last book I ever read (Philip Roth's The Anatomy Lesson, excerpt three)

from The Anatomy Lesson by Philip Roth:

Zuckerman had lost his subject. His health, his hair, and his subject. Just as well he couldn’t find a posture for writing. What he’d made his fiction from was gone—his birthplace the burnt-out landscape of a racial war and the people who’d been giants to him dead. The great Jewish struggle was with the Arab states; here it was over, the Jersey side of the Hudson, his West Bank, occupied now by an alien tribe. No new Newark was going to spring up again for Zuckerman, not like the first one: no fathers like those pioneering Jewish fathers bursting with taboos, no sons like their sons with temptations, no loyalties, no ambitions, no rebellions, no capitulations, no clashes quire so convulsive again. Never again to feel such tender emotion and such a desire to escape. Without a father and a mother and a homeland, he was no longer a novelist. No longer a son, no longer a writer. Everything that galvanized him had been extinguished, leaving nothing unmistakably his and nobody else’s to claim, exploit, enlarge, and reconstruct.

These were his distressing thoughts, reclining on the playmat unemployed.

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