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Reunion (review)

Reunion (review) Book Reviews answer these questions. On the contrary, his novel ends with them: What is wrong with the Levovs' life? What life could be less reprehensible than theirs? The adulteries? But these occur after the fact, after Merry has shattered the Levovs' existence with her violence. Their complacency? But they are far from complacent regarding their daughter's difficulties, or the turmoil the sixties have brought. As Louis Menand rightly argues in his New Yorker review, this is a complex book, and different readers will arrive at different conclusions. He suggests a variety of interpretations, from political allegory-how Vietnam and Watergate destroyed the spirit engendered by the defeat of Fascism-to biblical analogues-the Eden story or the Book of Job. The interpretation Menand favors, however, derives from everything Roth has written: the problematics of being a Jew and raising a family in predominantly gentile America. Swede Levov's error lies in thinking that he can "preserve the old values of work, family, and fair play but discard the atavistic compulsions of mindless discipline, authority, and tradition." The Swede is "blindsided" by "the culture of permissiveness" that undermines Seymour's genuine tolerance and sympathy of "therapy, analysis, and liberation" that the Levovs' dinner http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies Purdue University Press

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Publisher
Purdue University Press
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Copyright © Purdue University.
ISSN
1534-5165
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Abstract

Book Reviews answer these questions. On the contrary, his novel ends with them: What is wrong with the Levovs' life? What life could be less reprehensible than theirs? The adulteries? But these occur after the fact, after Merry has shattered the Levovs' existence with her violence. Their complacency? But they are far from complacent regarding their daughter's difficulties, or the turmoil the sixties have brought. As Louis Menand rightly argues in his New Yorker review, this is a complex book, and different readers will arrive at different conclusions. He suggests a variety of interpretations, from political allegory-how Vietnam and Watergate destroyed the spirit engendered by the defeat of Fascism-to biblical analogues-the Eden story or the Book of Job. The interpretation Menand favors, however, derives from everything Roth has written: the problematics of being a Jew and raising a family in predominantly gentile America. Swede Levov's error lies in thinking that he can "preserve the old values of work, family, and fair play but discard the atavistic compulsions of mindless discipline, authority, and tradition." The Swede is "blindsided" by "the culture of permissiveness" that undermines Seymour's genuine tolerance and sympathy of "therapy, analysis, and liberation" that the Levovs' dinner

Journal

Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish StudiesPurdue University Press

Published: Oct 3, 1999

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