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Portnoy's Complaint (1969)

by Philip Roth

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,4181321,083 (3.62)215
," . . [a] comic masterpiece, a glittering virtuoso performance. It is laughing-out-loud funny . . ." - Wall Street JournalUnabridged on audio, read by Ron Silver and directed by the author, Philip Roth Portnoy's Complaint is the famously outrageous confession made to his analyst by Alexander Portnoy, the Huck Finn of Newark, who is trust through life by his unappeasable sexuality, yet held back at the same time by the iron grip of his unforgettable childhood. Thirty years after it was first published, Portnoy's Complaint remains a classic of American literature, a tour de force of comic and carnal brilliance, and probably the funniest book about sex ever written. It was recently designated one of the hundred best books of the twentieth century by the Modern Library judges."An American masterpiece." -Life… (more)
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» See also 215 mentions

English (116)  Italian (4)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (132)
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
It's a hard book. It makes you want to hate it. But, the end is well worth it. ( )
  JaysenElsky | Sep 17, 2020 |
has some of the scatalogical raunch I associate with William Burroughs. ( )
  MccMichaelR | Jul 24, 2020 |
«Das lustigste Buch, das je über Sex geschrieben wurde.» (The Guardian) Der 33-jährige Anwalt Alexander Portnoy ist hin- und hergerissen zwischen Begierden, die mit seinem Gewissen unvereinbar sind, und einem Gewissen, das mit seinen Begierden unvereinbar ist. Auf der Couch eines Psychiaters lässt er sein sozial und sexuell verwirrtes Leben Revue passieren. Mit »Portnoys Beschwerden« hat Philip Roth eine brillante Satire geschrieben und den Prototyp des Sexualneurotikers überhaupt erst erfunden.
  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |
I fear how sympathetic Alexander Portnoy can *seem* in *Portnoy's Complaint*. He presents as a liberal, presents as a fighter for equality, for individual freedoms and social progress, for The Left, and so on. But when we look back through history, especially cultural history that is *our own* and is *recent*, we have to interpret it through *contemporary* eyes. He tries to rape someone. He's a blatant racist---even in his defense of black people against others' racism. He sexually assaults basically every woman he's with. He is a monster. And yet when he describes the rest of his humanity I understand. I sympathize.

The book *itself* is a marvel of good writing. The character in it has aged poorly, though. I'm not sure what the headspace would be regarding Alex Portnoy of a reader in 1969. I know it would be very different from now. Never mind what he does in the bedroom---all of it seems tame now---what he says to and about and *does* to people he doesn't know is the problem. So seeing those little rays of sympathy shine through illustrates the beauty of good writing, of humanizing someone who once seemed like just a pervert (probably), but is now a monster, those rays of sympathy make me fear for how *less visible* rays might be eating at me, irradiating my concepts and norms from people who seem so good and jovial.
( )
  jtth | May 4, 2020 |
I wish there was a 3.5 because this is the perfect 3.5
It had its moments, some were fantastic, but not my favourite.

When I first read this, I gave it 3 stars. Because tbh it wasn't the most enjoyable read. But for months afterwards I couldn't take my mind off of it. It really made me think about the value of strictures and religion in general. So I upped it to four. 5 seems too high considering it wasn't the greatest to read (though still solid) ( )
  Kelmanel | Apr 17, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roth, Philipprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fontcuberta i Gel, JoanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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She was so deeply imbedded in my consciousness that for the first year of school I seemed to have believed that each of my teachers was my mother in disguise.
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," . . [a] comic masterpiece, a glittering virtuoso performance. It is laughing-out-loud funny . . ." - Wall Street JournalUnabridged on audio, read by Ron Silver and directed by the author, Philip Roth Portnoy's Complaint is the famously outrageous confession made to his analyst by Alexander Portnoy, the Huck Finn of Newark, who is trust through life by his unappeasable sexuality, yet held back at the same time by the iron grip of his unforgettable childhood. Thirty years after it was first published, Portnoy's Complaint remains a classic of American literature, a tour de force of comic and carnal brilliance, and probably the funniest book about sex ever written. It was recently designated one of the hundred best books of the twentieth century by the Modern Library judges."An American masterpiece." -Life

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