Friday, 10 June 2011

Portnoy's Complaint

Title: Portnoy’s Complaint

Author: Philip Roth

Number of pages: 274

Started: 6 June 2011

Finished: 10 June 2011

Opening words:

She was so deeply embedded in my consciousness that for the first year of school I seem to have believed that each of my teachers was my mother in disguise. As soon as the last bell had sounded, I would rush off for home, wondering as I ran if I could possibly make it to our apartment before she had succeeded in transforming herself. Invariably she was already in the kitchen by the time I arrived, and setting out my milk and cookies. Instead of causing me to give up my delusions, however, the feat merely intensified my respect for her powers.

Plot summary:

The famous confession of Alexander Portnoy who is thrust through life by his unappeasable sexuality, yet held back at the same time by the iron grip of his unforgettable childhood.

What I thought:

This book was in effect a monologue given by Portnoy to his therapist explaining his life. This mainly centred around his mother, and (not always connected fortunately) his various sexual issues. It was an amusing book and had some very funny moments. I actually saw someone else reading this book at the same time as I was, but resisted the urge to ask him what he thought of it.

It was a diverting read, although perhaps not one of Roth’s most memorable.

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