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About the book
  • Published: 1 October 2009
  • ISBN: 9780099523420
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • RRP: $19.99


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.

  • Pub date: 1 October 2009
  • ISBN: 9780099523420
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256
  • 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 Indignation

“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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