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From the Publisher
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 our most unflaggingly
energetic and morally serious novelist launches perhaps his
fiercest book. The speaker is David Kepesh, white-haired and over
sixty, an eminent cultural 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
and humblingly beautiful 24-year-old daughter of Cuban exiles. When
he becomes involved with her, Kepesh finds himself
dragged-helplessly, bitterly, furiously-into the quagmire of sexual
jealousy and loss. In chronicling this descent, Philip Roth
performs a breathtaking set of variations on the themes of eros and
mortality, license and repression, selfishness and sacrifice.
The Dying Animal is a burning coal of a book,
filled with intellectual heat and not a little danger.