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About the book
  • Published: 5 April 2002
  • ISBN: 9780099422693
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $19.99
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The Dying Animal


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'This is a vicious, furious book, unapologetically not of this age - it is also horribly funny and unflinchingly honest' New Statesman

'No matter how much you know, no matter how much you think, no matter how much you plot and you connive and you plan, you're not superior to sex'

With these words America's most unflaggingly energetic and morally serious novelist launches perhaps his fiercest book. The speaker is David Kepesh, white-haired and over sixty, an eminent TV culture critic and star lecturer at a New York college - as well as an articulate propagandist of the sexual revolution. For years he has made a practice of sleeping with adventurous female students while maintaining an aesthete's critical distance. But now that distance has been annihilated.

The agency of Kepesh's undoing is Consuela Castillo, the decorous, humblingly beautiful twenty-four-year-old daughter of Cuban exiles. When he becomes involved with her, Kepesh finds himself dragged helplessly into the quagmire of sexual jealousy and loss. In chronicling the themes of eros and mortality, licence and repression, freedom and sacrifice. The Dying Animal is a burning coal of a book, filled with intellectual heat and not a little danger.

  • Pub date: 5 April 2002
  • ISBN: 9780099422693
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176
  • 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 The Dying Animal

“A fierce, compacted, sometimes brutal meditation on the passing of time and the meaning of freedom”

Daily Telegraph

“Intense and brilliant... Dazzling and compelling”

Sunday Herald


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