'Knotted with energy, barely wasting a scene or a word in its cracking velocity' Philip Hensher, Mail on Sunday
I Married a Communist is the story of the rise and fall of Ira Ringold, a big American roughneck who begins life as a teenage ditch digger in 1930s Newark, becomes a big-time 1940s radio star, and is destroyed, both as a performer and a man, in the McCarthy witch-hunt of the 1950s.
In his heyday as a star - and as a zealous, bullying supporter of 'progressive' political causes - Ira married Hollywood's beloved silent-film star, Eve Frame. Their glamorous honeymoon in her Manhattan townhouse is short-lived, however, and it is the publication of Eve's scandalous bestselling expose that identifies him as 'an American taking his orders from Moscow'.
In this story of cruelty, betrayal, and revenge spilling over into the public arena from their origins in Ira's turbulent personal life, Philip Roth has written a brilliant fictional portrayal of that treacherous post-war epoch when anti-Communist fever not only infected national politics but traumatised the intimate, innermost lives of friends and families, husbands and wives, parents and children.
“A passionate and coruscating American tragedy”
“Knotted with energy, barely wasting a scene or word in its cracking velocity”
Mail on Sunday
“Quintessential Philip Roth”
“One of the great political novels of our age; a card-carrying Shakespearean tragedy with New Jersey dirt beneath its fingernails”
Xan Brooks, Guardian
“A magnificent novel of ideas, a disquisition on the fallout of the death of ideology”
“Roth explores our expedients and tragedies with a masterly, often unnerving, blend of tenderness, harshness, insight and wit...a gripping novel”
New York Times Book Review
“Roth remains as edgy, as furious, as funny, and as dangerous as he was forty years ago”
New York Review of Books
“I Married a Communist proves that, following the success of Sabbath's Theater and American Pastoral, he remains on extraordinary form... Wonderful storytelling and characterisation”
Guardian, Books of the Year
“The McCarthy era has faded, eerily, into nostalgia, just as Capitol Hill produces its own 90s version of witch-hunt and communal obsession with enemies of the state, and perversions of justice perpetrated in democracy's name. Roth avoids nostalgia by making his narrator an active, if unwitting participant in the original drama, caught up in political currents and counter-currents he did not comprehend at the time”
“Roth’s conflicted, many-layered characters give this work memorable force”