Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Book: Philip Roth's The Plot Against America

My latest read is Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America". The book is set in a counter-factual 1940's where Charles Lindbergh , running on a Republican, America First, stay-out-of-the-war platform, defeats FDR during his run for a third term. The book follows the Roth family, a Jewish family living in Newark, NJ, try to cope with a more and more hostile America as the pro-Nazi, Anti-Semitic administration slowly tries to tear their family apart. The book is a good read until the last two chapters. The next to last chapter, "Bad Days," feels like it was tacked on when the author couldn't figure how to end the book. The chapter acts like a reset button that makes Lindbergh disappear, make the anti-Semitic violence reach a crescendo and then disappear, and returns FDR to power just in time for Pearl Harbor. This chapter destroys the counter-factual background of the book. Unfortunately, it was the counter-factual nature of the book that interested me the most. The last chapter, "Perpetual Fear," returns the book back to the events affecting the family that was more like the rest of the novel but it seemed chaotic and felt like an afterthought. My expectations for this book were high and, unfortunately because of the last two chapters, the novel did not live up to them.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. Despite the raving that everyone seemed to do about this book, it fell short of my expectations as well.

    ReplyDelete