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About the book
  • Published: 1 June 2007
  • ISBN: 9780099501466
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192
  • RRP: $19.99


A magnificent new novel from the Pulitzer-prize winning author, whose most recent novel, The Plot Against America, was hailed as 'the first fictional masterpiece of the twenty-first century'

Philip Roth's twenty-seventh book takes its title from an anonymous fifteenth-century English allegorical play whose drama centres on the summoning of the living to death and whose hero, Everyman, is intended to be the personification of mankind. The fate of Roth's Everyman is traced from his first shocking confrontation with death on the idyllic beaches of his childhood summers and during his hospitalisation as a nine-year-old surgical patient through the crises of health that come close to killing him as a vigorous adult, and into his old age, when he is undone by the death and deterioration of his contemporaries and relentlessly stalked by his own menacing physical woes. A successful commercial advertising artist with a New York ad agency, he is the father of two sons who despise him and a daughter who adores him, the beloved brother of a good man whose physical well-being comes to arouse his bitter envy, and the lonely ex-husband of three very different women with whom he's made a mess of marriage. Everyman is a painful human story of the regret and loss and stoicism of a man who becomes what he does not want to be. The terrain of this savagely sad short novel is the human body, and its subject is the common experience that terrifies us all.

  • Pub date: 1 June 2007
  • ISBN: 9780099501466
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192
  • RRP: $19.99

About the Author

Philip Roth

Philip Roth was born in Newark, New Jersey on 19 March 1933. The second child of second-generation Americans, Bess and Herman Roth, Roth grew up in the largely Jewish community of Weequahic, a neighbourhood he was to return to time and again in his writing. After graduating from Weequahic High School in 1950, he attended Bucknell University, Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago, where he received a scholarship to complete his M.A. in English Literature.

In 1959, Roth published Goodbye, Columbus – a collection of stories, and a novella – for which he received the National Book Award. Ten years later, the publication of his fourth novel, Portnoy’s Complaint, brought Roth both critical and commercial success, firmly securing his reputation as one of America’s finest young writers. Roth was the author of thirty-one books, including those that were to follow the fortunes of Nathan Zuckerman, and a fictional narrator named Philip Roth, through which he explored and gave voice to the complexities of the American experience in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries.

Roth’s lasting contribution to literature was widely recognised throughout his lifetime, both in the US and abroad. Among other commendations he was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the International Man Booker Prize, twice the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award, and presented with the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal by Presidents Clinton and Obama, respectively.

Philip Roth died on 22 May 2018 at the age of eighty-five having retired from writing six years previously.

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Praise for Everyman

“Roth's writing looks uncompromisingly straightforward but is subtle and clever... A human story for our times”

A.S Byatt, New Statesman

“Alive with literary brilliance for all its deathly subject matter”

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

“A simple beautiful ending to a deeply sombre book.”

Andrew Crumey, Scotland on Sunday

“The genius of this short, bleak, remarkable novel stems from the way that Roth turns his desolate assessment of death into something bracing: an angry acceptance that mortality is the price we pay for the sheer wonder of this thing called life”

Douglas Kennedy, The Times

“This elegant little book shimmers with the mysteries and regrets of a whole life...Like Ford Madox Ford's masterful The Good Soldier, in fiction sometimes the best presents come in small packages... poignant, droll, and eloquent”

Lionel Shriver, Daily Telegraph

“[An] elegant novella”

Angel Gurria-Quintana, Financial Times

“Every sentence and every paragraph works with the coiled precision of the watch mechanisms that the narrators father repairs and glitters with the lapidary perfection of the perfection he sells”

Tim Martin, Independent on Sunday

“A brilliantly compressed account of a life”

Christopher Tayler, Sunday Telegraph

“This is as dark a novel as Roth has written yet it reads like a dream. Like all great fiction, its embrace is vice-like, the very ordinariness of Everyman's story making it extraordinarily compelling”

Alan Taylor, Sunday Herald

“Unexpectedly moving and written in an inviting easy story-telling style...”


“A savage, heart-wrenching novella”

Francesca Martin, Harper's Bazaar

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