A new book giveaway! I’m giving away a new, hardcover copy of Philip Roth’s bestseller, Indignation. As with all giveaways on LBTS, the winner is under no obligation to read or review this book, though if you wish to do so I would be happy to share your thoughts here. If you’d like to win Indignation, leave a comment on this entry. I will use random.org’s sequence generator to pick the winner. Either way, entries must be made by 11:59 PM, Tuesday September 15, 2009.
Indignation – Philip Roth. (Houghton Mifflin, January 1, 2008) Roth’s brilliant and disconcerting new novel plumbs the depths of the early Cold War–era male libido, burdened as it is with sexual myths and a consciousness overloaded with vivid images of impending death, either by the bomb or in Korea. At least this is the way things appear to narrator Marcus Messner, the 19-year-old son of a Newark kosher butcher. Perhaps because Marcus’s dad saw his two brothers’ only sons die in WWII, he becomes an overprotective paranoid when Marcus turns 18, prompting Marcus to flee to Winesburg College in Ohio. Though the distance helps, Marcus, too, is haunted by the idea that flunking out of college means going to Korea. His first date in Winesburg is with doctor’s daughter Olivia Hutton, who would appear to embody the beautiful normality Marcus seeks, but, instead, she destroys Marcus’s sense of normal by surprising him after dinner with her carnal prowess. Slightly unhinged by this stroke of fortune, he at first shuns her, then pesters her with letters and finally has a brief but nonpenetrative affair with her. Olivia, he discovers, is psychologically fragile and bears scars from a suicide attempt—a mark Marcus’s mother zeroes in on when she meets the girl for the first and last time. Between promising his mother to drop her and longing for her, Marcus goes through a common enough existential crisis, exacerbated by run-ins with the school administration over trivial matters that quickly become more serious.