The Humbling

The Humbling

By:  Philip Roth

Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth’s startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, "are melted into air, into thin air." When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. "Something fundamental has vanished." His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can’t persuade him to make a comeback.

Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day’s journey into night, told with Roth’s inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life’s performances—talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation—are stripped off.

The Humbling is Roth’s thirtieth book.

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  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547416953

  • ISBN-10: 0547416954

  • Pages: 160

  • Price: $9.99

  • Publication Date: 11/02/2009

  • Carton Quantity: 1

Philip Roth
Author

Philip Roth

PHILIP ROTH (1933–2018) won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral in 1997. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House and in 2002 the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction, previously awarded to John Dos Passos, William Faulkner and Saul Bellow, among others. He twice won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2005 The Plot Against America received the Society of American Historians' prize for "the outstanding historical novel on an American theme for 2003–2004" and the W.H. Smith Award for the Best Book of the Year, making Roth the first writer in the forty-six-year history of the prize to win it twice.In 2005 Roth became the third living American writer to have his works published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America. In 2011 he received the National Humanities Medal at the White House, and was later named the fourth recipient of the Man Booker International Prize. In 2012 he won Spain's highest honor, the Prince of Asturias Award, and in 2013 he received France's highest honor, Commander of the Legion of Honor.
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  • reviews

    "A deteriorating and increasingly irrelevant actor finds the possibility of renewal in a younger woman in Roth's tight Chekhovian tragedy...Roth observes much (about age, success nad the sexual credit lovers hold one with another) in little space, and the svelte narrative amounts to an unsparing confrontation of self." --- Publishers Weekly, starred review

    "Bare-bones brilliant, Philip Roth’s novella The Humbling (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) brings us face-to-face—and groin to groin—with the long acclaimed, lately retired theater actor Simon Axler and all the sexy, sickly, slippery goings-on that make up his shockingly funny (when not funereal) offstage suburban-Connecticut highs, lows, and in-betweens.”

    -- Lisa Shea, Elle magazine

    "I hope you will read The Humbling, I found it to be Roth’s best work in years; sentence for sentence, paragraph for paragraph, he’s still the most readable serious writer we’ve got."

    -- Jesse Kornbluth, The Huffington Post

    "One of Roth’s most eloquent, painful and memorable books."

    -- Kirkus Reviews, starred review

    "Philip the great, Philip the audacious, the voracious...When you hear about a new Philip Roth novel, you have to read it."

    -- O, The Oprah Magazine

    "The Humbling is the story of arrogance deflated. Yet from its opening sentence, 'He’d lost his magic,' until its stunning, resonant final line, the result is oddly exhilarating. Unlike Axler, Roth has lost none of his power to conjure up teacups from which a willing reader gladly sips."

    -- The Forward

    "[Philip Roth has] been on an audacious hot streak for a dozen years...[The Humbling is] an entertaining inquiry into the relationship between sex and creativity, sex and age, and sex and the ego."

    -- Entertainment Weekly

    "elegant and brutal…direct and urgent, a taut and controlled fever-dream that demands to be experienced at a single sitting."

    -- Los Angeles Times

Available Resources

Related Categories

  • Format: eBook

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780547416953

  • ISBN-10: 0547416954

  • Pages: 160

  • Price: $9.99

  • Publication Date: 11/02/2009

  • Carton Quantity: 1

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