Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
From The Sunday Times September 21, 2008
Indignation by Philip Roth The Sunday Times review by Peter Kemp
Butchery of two kinds pervades Philip Roth's thrilling new novel.
Gleaming in the foreground are the razor-sharp knives and meat cleavers of a kosher butcher's shop in 1950s New Jersey. Lethally flashing in the background are the bayonets of Chinese soldiers fighting US troops in Korea. Ribs and shanks of lamb, bloodied hunks of beef and the bodies of ritually slaughtered chickens dangle from hooks in the Newark neighbourhood store 12 miles north of New York. Hacked and sliced carcasses of conscripts strew the Far East battlefields.
Ominously situated between these two abattoir-like environments is Marcus Messner, a hard-working straight-A student who has entered college in downtown Newark (the city where Roth grew up) at about the same time US forces entered South Korea to help repel the invasion by north Koreans aided by Soviet and Chinese communists. Marcus isn't the only recent Roth protagonist to be menaced by an ugly turn in his country's history.