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Nemesis by Philip Roth
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Nemesis (original 2010; edition 2010)

by Philip Roth

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Member:Rob.Larson
Title:Nemesis
Authors:Philip Roth
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Nemesis by Philip Roth (2010)

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» See also 54 mentions

English (39)  Spanish (7)  Dutch (4)  German (2)  French (2)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
What a great book, though, now I am irrationally terrified of contracting poliomyelitis.
( )
  DanielAlgara | Sep 26, 2014 |
My only prior experience with Philip Roth's works was with Goodbye Columbus and Portnoy's Complaint, both of which I read many years ago and both of which I remember as rather crude. Nemesis was a pleasant surprise. Whether it is due to Roth's maturity as a writer, or my own maturity as a reader, I found Nemesis to be a gripping coming-of-age story. Set in Newark, NJ during the 1944 polio epidemic, it's the story of Bucky Cantor, a phys-ed teacher, summering as a playground instructor. He has found a career, a woman to love, and is on the brink of a wonderful life when tragedy strikes. I definitely recommend this book! ( )
  LoisB | Aug 1, 2014 |
"Nemesis" is a book in three parts. The first takes place in Newark, NJ during a polio outbreak in the summer of 1944, the second is in a sleep-away camp in the Poconos that same summer, and the third is 27 years later. The story is about Bucky Cantor, who is athletic and verile, and he begins the summer by facing the epidemic head-on with optimism and determination. The descriptions of the epidemic and its effects on a city and on one man's life are brilliant. Bucky ultimately questions his Jewish faith over the idea that God lets bad things happen to good people, and by the end that questioning has unravelled his life. It's an interesting riff on the Greek myth of Nemesis, but it felt disingenuine that Bucky has spent 27 years withering to the point where he's not even the narrator in his own story. I would have rather seen him grow or become destroyed, but the outcome of just existing felled this book for me. ( )
  sbloom42 | May 21, 2014 |
"Nemesis" was my first time reading anything by Philip Roth... I enjoyed the book though I'm not sure why it is on the list of 1,001 books to read before you die.

The story centers on Bucky Cantor, a playground director when a polio epidemic hits Newark, N.J. I found the story was told well, but somewhat predictable... I could see fairly early on where it was going. That said, I thought Roth did a masterful job at peeling back the layers of Cantor's character.

Overall, this was an interesting and quick read. ( )
  amerynth | Dec 3, 2013 |
with this book, i'm starting to understand roth's narrative sense. here, he unwraps the narrator a chapter at a time. ( )
  applemcg | May 26, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
It’s all a bit by the numbers, though Mr. Roth executes Bucky’s story with professionalism and lots of granular period detail.
 

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The first case of polio that summer came early in June, right after Memorial Day, in a poor Italian neighborhood crosstown from where we lived.
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Book description
Situé dans les environs de Newark , à l'époque où éclate une terrible épidémie de polio , Némésis décrit avec précision l'impact des circonstances sur nos vies .
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0547318359, Hardcover)

In the "stifling heat of equatorial Newark," a terrifying epidemic is raging, threatening the children of the New Jersey city with maiming, paralysis, lifelong disability, and even death. This is the startling theme of Philip Roth’s wrenching new book: a wartime polio epidemic in the summer of 1944 and the effect it has on a closely knit, family-oriented Newark community and its children.

At the center of Nemesis is a vigorous, dutiful twenty-three-year-old playground director, Bucky Cantor, a javelin thrower and weightlifter, who is devoted to his charges and disappointed with himself because his weak eyes have excluded him from serving in the war alongside his contemporaries. Focusing on Cantor’s dilemmas as polio begins to ravage his playground—and on the everyday realities he faces—Roth leads us through every inch of emotion such a pestilence can breed: the fear, the panic, the anger, the bewilderment, the suffering, and the pain.

Moving between the smoldering, malodorous streets of besieged Newark and Indian Hill, a pristine children’s summer camp high in the Poconos—whose "mountain air was purified of all contaminants"—Roth depicts a decent, energetic man with the best intentions struggling in his own private war against the epidemic. Roth is tenderly exact at every point about Cantor’s passage into personal disaster, and no less exact about the condition of childhood.

Through this story runs the dark questions that haunt all four of Roth’s late short novels, Everyman, Indignation, The Humbling, and now Nemesis: What kind of accidental choices fatally shape a life? How does the individual withstand the onslaught of circumstance?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:19 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Roth's "Nemesis" is the story of a wartime polio epidemic in the summer of 1944 and the effect it has on a closely knit, family-oriented Newark community and its children.

(summary from another edition)

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