Mocking the Age: The Later Novels of Philip Roth, by Elaine B. Safer. New York: State University of New York Press, 2006. 219 pp. $21.95. Writers do not always get the critics they deserve--a scholar, who is also a warm-blooded person, with the life experience and fine tuned reading ability to discern their subtleties--but Philip Roth is well served by Elaine B. Safer, an expert on both the postmodern novel and the comic novel. In her new book, Mocking the Age: The Later Novels of Philip Roth, Safer explores what makes Roth's novels from the last twenty years both so funny and so spot-on in their analysis of American and Jewish American cultural life. Her book covers major novels including The Counterlife, Operation Shylock, and Sabbath's Theater; Roth's "American Trilogy," American Pastoral, I Married a Communist, and The Human Stain; and the recent The Dying Animal and The Plot Against America. Each chapter is focused on an individual novel, though all the chapters draw substantially and expertly on the whole of Roth's career. Safer's analysis is wide-ranging, and over a dozen pages in the introduction she links Roth with other comic writers, postmodernism, autobiography, Jewish themes, and Roth's
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Aug 13, 2007
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