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Philip Roth: The Biography by [Blake Bailey]

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Philip Roth: The Biography Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 477 ratings

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Kindle, 26 May 2021
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Review

'Magisterial' and 'definitive' ... don't do justice to Blake Bailey's years-in-the-making opus. ... Bailey meticulously conjures the career of one of America's literary titans, the devils and angels that shaped his work.-- "O, The Oprah Magazine"

[A] totemic and compulsively readable biography.--Christian Lorentzen "Bookforum"

[Roth] got to be remembered [in Bailey's biography] as a man: hilarious, mercurial, genuinely kind but fickle and meanspirited too. A man, rather than an inert legacy.--Mark Oppenheimer "New York Times Magazine"

A stunning feat, this is as dynamic and gripping as any of Roth's own fictions.-- "Publishers Weekly (starred review)"

A wonderful book that seems certain to become the definitive biography of Roth's fascinating, sometimes troubling, life--Roth was a brilliant writer, and Bailey does him justice in this beautifully written and highly readable volume.--Michael Schaub "Boston Globe"

Bailey is a very good writer and a very good literary biographer. A double- or triple-natured subject is not beyond him. ... What a story. ... Bailey certainly lets the repellent in, and along with it comes the man in his wholeness.--James Parker "The Atlantic"

Bailey is industrious, rigorous, and uncowed. ... Although Roth would not have enjoyed some of the tumult that will now attend its publication, he might have admired his biographer's ... refusal to fall under his subject's sway. The man who emerges is a literary genius, constantly getting it wrong, loving others, then hurting them, wrestling with himself and with language, devoted to an almost unfathomable degree to the art of fiction.--David Remnick "The New Yorker"

Beautifully written ... compulsively readable ... It is hard to imagine a book that will come up with a more definitive series of answers than this one.--Tim Adams "Observer"

Blake Bailey's book is definitive. It's also often funny, sometimes appalling, and always fascinating--like its subject.--Jacqueline Cutler "New York Daily News"

Blake Bailey's comprehensive life of Philip Roth--to tell it outright--is a narrative masterwork ... As in a novel, what is seen at first to be casual chance is revealed at last to be a steady and powerfully demanding drive. ... under Bailey's strong light what remains on the page is one writer's life as it was lived, and--almost--as it was felt.--Cynthia Ozick "New York Times Book Review (cover)" --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Book Description

The renowned biographer's definitive portrait of a literary titan --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0959Z631N
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Skyhorse (26 May 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 39084 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 960 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 477 ratings

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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postgrad
4.0 out of 5 stars A slick, very readable biography
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 May 2021
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Kid Ferrous
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive biography of one of the greatest American writers
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 May 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive biography of one of the greatest American writers
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 15 May 2021
I am neither sufficiently informed nor qualified to comment on Blake Bailey’s personal life and I don’t believe it has anything to do with his work which I shall judge on its own merits. I’m sure women the world over are feverishly organising book-burnings (if they’re able to get a copy) but thankfully I’m not one of them. I will say though that the whole palaver does add a certain cachet to this book, and I’m glad I own a copy after the American publisher ceased publication of it. A quick look on eBay reveals dozens of copies for sale, no doubt sellers hoping to cash in on its notoriety. Anyway enough of that, it’s the work that counts here.
Blake Bailey was already the well-regarded biographer of Charles Jackson, author of “The Lost Weekend”, Richard Yates and John Cheever - authors who are possibly more famous for their alcoholism than their books - when chosen by Philip Roth to be his biographer. And in nine hundred dense, delightful pages, “Philip Roth: The Biography” certainly does it’s subject justice. This book is “THE” biography after all.
Each page is densely filled with information, suggesting that he got to know Roth as well as the author knew himself. Maybe a little too well, as an anecdote at the end of the book will attest, where Bailey recounts staying at Roth’s place and being able to hear him spending a penny in the bathroom. Probably “TMI” as trendy people say, but it’s at the end of the book and I suppose Bailey is feeling pretty pleased with himself by that point, having just finished the book of his life, and needs to let his hair down.
The book itself is, at times, an almost overwhelming study of one of the greatest American writers who ever lived. Roth was a man of his time, and many aspects of his life and work will no doubt surprise and shock a modern, offence-minded audience. Bailey leaves no stone unturned in his quest to get right to the heart of Roth. Despite its length, Bailey writes in a relaxed, easy style that makes the book a real page-turner. There are also three sections of photographs throughout the book. This is an exhaustive, scholarly and well written biography, with too many highlights to mention.
Full confession - I’ve never read anything by Philip Roth, but this superb, life-affirming biography has inspired me to want to discover his work and in so doing, sort my literary life out. While Blake Bailey’s biography will no doubt become infamous, mostly for the wrong reasons, there is no getting away from the fact that it is a remarkable literary achievement that deserves to be celebrated. Sometimes perfect art is created by less than perfect people, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored.
I fully recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more - learning everything - about a great writer and the times he defined.
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Ellison F
5.0 out of 5 stars Thorough and fair biography
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 May 2021
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Dave the book
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 June 2021
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natasha cousins
2.0 out of 5 stars Damaged Goods
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 May 2021
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2.0 out of 5 stars Damaged Goods
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 May 2021
Product arrived damaged, which has - and I hope this is not overly dramatic - ruined my entire day, if not my week.
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