Everyman, by Philip Roth

Book 54

I read about one Philip Roth novel a year.  Unfortunately, two years in a row I have picked the ones about men whose lives are entirely defined by sexual relationships.

That isn’t entirely fair.  But dude was married three times and cheated on each wife.  So the novel starts with his funeral, then tells the short story of his long life and the meditations that he did on death and dying and dying alone.

There were a couple of pretty poignant things:  one was that our Everyman (I don’t recall whether he had a name) had given up having a relationship with his two grown sons.  They never forgave him for leaving their mother when they were children.  He says something like: I am not able to apologize and explain myself any more.  There is truth in that.  When you have wronged someone, you apologize and attempt to make up for the wrong (assuming you want to continue the relationship).  If they won’t let it happen, if they just keep hammering at you, it isn’t healthy for anyone.

Because of a couple of childhood illnesses, our hero had a long-standing relationship with Death.  It isn’t exactly “another character”, but it is sort of the cloud that hangs over the novel.  I am glad it was a quick read, because however profound, this isn’t a place one wants to dwell.

Going to read some Christmas books now.

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