Indignation by Philip Roth - review by Carole Angier

Carole Angier

Messner’s Wrath

Indignation

By

Jonathan Cape 233pp £16.99
 

In Indignation Philip Roth returns once more to his roots – to Newark, his poor, wildly warm Jewish family, and his move away from both into the rich, cold WASP world. There are echoes of Goodbye Columbus and Portnoy’s Complaint – especially the latter, since young Alexander Portnoy also sang the Chinese national anthem at school in the early 1950s: ‘Indignation fills the hearts of all our countrymen/ Arise! Arise! Arise!’

This is all to the good. Whenever Roth draws on that original spring of inspiration – in both Columbus and Portnoy, in Patrimony (a memoir of his father’s death), most recently in The Plot Against America – he produces, to my mind, his best and truest work. And in many

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