Philip Roth, America's most prolific, high-class novelist has been busy the last few years with a series of shorter novels that underscore why he is a writer some believe deserving of a Nobel Prize. His latest is "Nemesis," and it again shows that the aging Roth remains a great storyteller.
The ending has less of a punch in the stomach than Roth's earlier "Indignation," but "Nemesis" is still a powerfully told story about a good but confused man who faces what life brings and makes choices that lead to a personal reckoning.
There will be no spoiler here. Roth's tragic hero is Bucky Cantor -- a good, if intellectually limited man -- and the story is about how he copes in the waning years of World War Two as the youngsters he coaches at a Newark playground are devastated by a polio epidemic.
The simply told story has an emotional power and depth only a great storyteller can deliver. Roth creates a flawed main character -- another everyman -- struggling for happiness amid chaos. It's the kind of storytelling that generates reactions that challenge the reader to question why and how they came to be who they are.
Review by R.A. Walker