Wednesday, January 13, 2010
"The Dying Animal" by Philip Roth
My grade: B-
I have very mixed feelings about this book. As one critic put it, I would definitely agree that it's disturbing, but I'm not sure about the masterpiece part. This short novel in many ways is an analysis of the primitive and instinctual man, which in itself has huge potential. However, the overabundance of vulgarity, crudeness and bad taste take away from it to such an extent that I considered giving up on the book several times. There are, nonetheless, nice and smart moments, compelling the reader to continue. And there is both a point and a statement, although I'm not sure that Roth's arguments are so convincing one way or another.
There was a movie made based on the book, staring Penelope Cruz and Ben Kingsley: "Elegy". The movie follows the book quite closely, although a lot of the vulgarity is definitely (and thankfully) omitted.