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The Plot Against America

Posted - Nov. 22, 2004 at 4:31 a.m.



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by Philip Roth

I couldn't wait for this novel to be over. I actually found myself skipping some of the incessant parenthetical asides to try to get to the meat that might keep me moving toward a conclusion. Forgive me - I know this is one of those novels I'm supposed to like - but I just didn't.

The premise is fascinating. What if Charles Lindbergh had been nominated by the Republican Party in 1940 and had beaten FDR? What if he was as sympathetic to the Nazi regime as he was rumored to be and what if he would be complacent in their ruthless move through Europe? What would happen to America's Jews? What would the fear of the unknown produce in Americans during the 1940s?

Fascinating premise. I even liked and sympathized with the main characters. I don't know what exhausted me so about the novel. Maybe it's the paragraph-long sentences that sucked the life right out of me. What is this phrase, set off by yet more comas, actually modifying? Or maybe it was the paranoia, however justified, dripping from every page that just left me fatigued?

Roth is quite literary - there's no denying that. You'll enjoy the mastery of language until your mind starts wandering to whether there's any string cheese left in your fridge, and you don't bother to go back and read what you missed while you were daydreaming.

I'm sorry - I can't recommend Philip Roth's latest bestseller - The Plot Against America. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio 1160, I'm Amanda Dickson.

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