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A dazzling new novel from a modern master of the form

It is 1951 in America, the second year of the Korean War. A studious, law-abiding, intense youngster from Newark, New Jersey, Marcus Messner is beginning his sophomore year on the pastoral, conservative campus of Ohio's Winesburg College. And why is he here and not at a local college in Newark where he originally enrolled? Because his father, the sturdy, hardworking neighbourhood butcher seems to have gone mad - mad with fear and apprehension of the dangers of adult life, the dangers of the world, the dangers he sees in the every corner for his beloved boy. So Marcus leaves and, far from home, has to find his way amid the customs and constrictions of another American world. Indignation is the story of a young man's education in life's terrifying chances and bizarre obstructions. It is a story of inexperience, foolishness, intellectual resistance, sexual discovery, courage and error, told with all the inventive energy and with Roth has at his command.


Philip Roth's best novel since The Counterlife. In that long meantime the author has published many fine works... but none as intricately wrought, passionate and fascinating as this one... a late masterpiece

John Banville, Financial Times

Roth] reasserts his fictional mastery with a fine taut narrative about the frustrations of youth ... As grippingly streamlined as Greek drama, Roth's mid-20th-century tale of nemesis transmits it again, brilliantly renewed with all the intellectual and imaginative force of a great novelist writing at the height of his powers

Sunday Times

Indignation is, unquestionably, seriously "good" Roth

Meg Wolitzer, The Times

Drivingly readable

New Statesman

Indignation ought to be required reading for presidential candidates

Evening Standard

Roth's novels abound in comic moments, and so does Indignation...His powerful new novel seethes with outrage...a deft, gripping, and deeply moving narrative

New York Review of Books

Indignation is, among its many pleasures, a controlled expression of wrath

Daily Telegraph

If I had to choose one word to sum up Indignation I'd go for classy. If were allowed two: very classy

Tibor Fischer, Sunday Telegraph

Once again, Roth defies all the rules of artistic decline and shows that this is a career still producing highlights


A superbly realised novel


Philip Roth's novels are becoming increasingly succinct and focused. It's as if he is sharpening his ideas to even steelier points, each book now so finely honed it will find its way to the heart like an arrow to a bull's-eye


Roth at his best - and Indignation is very close to it - can persuade any reader to suspend disbelief and be suctioned into the inexorable momentum of his story. His eye for detail is unerring...Indignation ought to be made required reading for all future presidential candidates

Scotsman on Sunday

As dazzlingly brilliant as any of his older dazzlingly brilliant efforts...this short novel has laughs, loves, abject misery, blowjobs in parked cars and projectile vomiting all over the place. If that's not what you want out of a novel then we don't know what's wrong with you

Dazed & Confused

The latest novel from the unstoppable Roth is a tricksily narrated, unsettling portrait of adult neurosis and youthful uncertainty, set against the backdrop of the Korean War


Brilliantly conceived and executed

Chris Ross, Guardian

Trademark scenes of sexual craving punctuate an incisive analysis of American society in the early 1950s

Michael Englard, Observer

Required reading, if only for its flashes of Roth's trademark, wrathful fluency

Edward McGown, Telegraph

Quietly compelling

Sunday Telegraph

This angry story of an angry young man, beautifully and simply told, is not easy to forget

Lesley McDowell, Independent on Sunday

Thrilling...As grippingly streamlined as Greek drama, Roth's mid-20th-century tale of nemesis shows all the force of a great novelist writing at the height of his powers

Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times

This is a great book for several reasons...As with other Roth novels, there are narrative innovations, and here they work well

The Times

Told with the striking clarity of which Roth is a master

Emily Firetog, Irish Times


William Leith, Evening Standard

As usual he's brilliant at drawing you into feeling his protagonist's outrage

Colin Waters, Sunday Herald

Marcus Messner is the classic Roth hero - brilliant, introspective, intense, horny, and a Jewish son of Newark, New Jersey ... Terrific

Johanna Thomas-Corr, Scotsman

Tart and seductive, Roth's coming-of-age tale matures into a howl of indignation...Marcus' adolescent dilemmas ratchet up the already over-stretched relationships binding his family, which Roth presents with characteristic moral gravity braced by guilt and inexperience, wrapping it all in a subtle literary device that sharply accentuates the manifold horrors of war

James Urquhart, Financial Times

I loved this...it was a strange and troubling read, but brilliantly written


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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    October 1, 2009


    256 pages

    RRP $19.99

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  • EBook


    September 1, 2010

    Vintage Digital

    256 pages

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