The Dying Animal

Paperback | July 9, 2002

byPhilip Roth

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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.

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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 ...

From the Jacket

"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 a...

In 1997 Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House and in 2002 the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction. He has twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has won the PEN/Faulkner Award three times. In 2005 The Plot Against America received the Society ...

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Format:PaperbackPublished:July 9, 2002Publisher:Knopf Doubleday Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:037571412X

ISBN - 13:9780375714122

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Reviews

Rated 2 out of 5 by from Hard To Say What He's Doing Funny; it doesn't seem many Canadians are reading this book. I love Roth's work; I've read all his stuff. American Pastoral was a masterpiece, as was the entire American Trilogy. So it's strange to see this book coming out at this time in Roth's career. People have complained about its purple prose. And they're right. The Dying Animal is something from the diary of an angst-ridden high school loner. But it's written from Kepesh's perspective, so maybe this is just the way Kepesh writes. Roth knows he can publish anything he wants, so DA could've been narrated by a dog. (There's even a passage about talking to dogs--a passage that is so stupid and clumsy that you've really got to wonder...) Reading this book, you have to decide whether you like the idea of listening to an aged kid never able to achieve adolescence. I'd compare it to a long trip with an uncle. And that's what Roth is doing. Every man has his own problems, his own complexities. And DA is a look at one man's life. The writing is, start-to-finish, frantic and overwrought. The man is obscene, far-fetched, ridiculous, and cruel, but he has every right to narrate his own story. So, do you buy it? Well, a burnt tree stump is art...
Date published: 2008-06-16

Extra Content

Bookclub Guide

“A disturbing masterpiece.” —The New York Review of Books

The introduction, discussion questions, suggested reading list, and author biography that follow are designed to enhance your group’s discussion of Philip Roth’s The Dying Animal. We hope they will deepen and broaden your understanding of one of Roth’s most brilliant characters, David Kepesh, and the story he tells in this complex and powerful novel.

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