Everyman by Philip Roth - review by John Dugdale

John Dugdale

Mortality Tale

Everyman

By

Jonathan Cape 182pp £12.99 order from our bookshop
 

In Philip Roth’s 2001 novella, The Dying Animal, the protagonist, David Kepesh, was forced to confront mortality in a former lover – a young woman sentenced to death by cancer. In Everyman, also a short work, the dying animal becomes the hero himself: it opens with his funeral, and ends with the operation that killed him.

The narrative enclosed by these scenes begins with the unnamed figure’s largely idyllic childhood in 1940s New Jersey, where he eagerly runs errands for his jeweller father (whose shop is called Everyman), reveres his older brother Howie, and adores swimming in the sea. Although after naval service and art school

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