According to the blurb, this is Roth’s masterpiece. To which all I can say is… meh.
I don’t know. It’s a good book, a broad-sweep fat novel of the old school, but I wasn’t blown away by it. I don’t think Roth is much of a prose stylist, for a start. Perfectly competent, and sporadically rather better than that, but not one of the magicians.
And it’s just a bit… shouty. Perhaps that’s what the Guardian had in mind when they described it as ‘raging and elegiac’. He’s like the Bellman in the Hunting of the Snark: ‘what I tell you three times is true’. And he does say everything three times, hammering away at each point. Bang. Bang. Bang.
There may be a bit of trans-Atlantic disconnect going on here, but for whatever reason, this didn’t push my buttons.