Englischsprachige Literatur

Roth Philip


Cape/Random House, London 2006


The best thing about this novel is the title, and in addition, that it contains only 182 pages. And a photo of Roth assures the reader, that he is more or less writing about himself, as he looks just as worn-out and frustrated as his everyman-hero seems to be.

This “he” is introduced at his funeral, where his daughter Nancy and his brother Howie are the only ones, who have something good to say about him. Then we meet him in the last weeks of his life. He laments about his life, lost chances and the obvious fact, that he is getting old and missing out on all the fun. Like most men, he can endlessly talk about his various aches and pains and the fact, that he can do “it” no more. Although he was a highly successful commercial artist, he is now on his own, completely neglected by the other sex. Only his daughter Nancy cares for him. His sons from his first marriage despise him, his estranged ex-wives hate him.

He is dreading another operation and rightly so, because he dies during the procedure of cardiac arrest. And the reader can shut the book and say “what an unpleasant egotist, blown out of proportion.” This reader here refuses to believe, that everyman is just like that, maybe Roth is.