by Philip Roth
(Houghton Mifflin, $26)
“Up to a point,” it doesn’t matter that Philip Roth’s slim new novel resembles so many of his 28 others, said Ruth Franklin in The New York Sun. Roth is “a master magician who can make the same old rabbit do new tricks,” and when Indignation sends a tightly wound son of a Newark kosher butcher off to a WASP-y Midwestern college, the refreshing air of playfulness keeps a reader engaged. But the novel tests our patience when it’s revealed that this narrator is speaking posthumously about what turned out to be the last year of his short mid-20th-century life, said Christopher Hitchens in The Atlantic Monthly. In Roth’s cosmos, apparently, the afterlife can consist of eternal cogitations about an unexpected blow job, a puking incident in the dean’s office, and an unhinged panty raid that, for us, “goes on for pages.” But we expect too much of Roth if we think he can produce a masterpiece every time out, said Adam Begley in The New York Observer. Indignation is “surely flawed,” but it’s still an electric tale and, often enough, a “magnificent display of writerly talent.”
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