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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.

Reviews

A savage, heart-wrenching novella

Francesca Martin, Harper's Bazaar

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...

Economist

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Formats & editions

  • EBook

    9781407018515

    July 1, 2010

    Vintage Digital

    192 pages

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  • Paperback

    9780099501466

    June 1, 2007

    Vintage

    192 pages

    RRP $19.99

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