By Philip Roth
Large Print Edition
Center Point Large Print, (2010)
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - April 1, 2010
The great stage and movie actor Simon Axler is humbled in his mid-sixties when he discovers that he has lost his ability to act. His agonizing leads to his wife leaving him and he enters himself in a twenty some day program in a psychiatric clinic. He meets a young woman there who found her second husband having sex with her infant child from her first husband. The woman wants Axler to kill her husband. After leaving the clinic, he meets a lesbian who lost her lover who decided to go through a sex change operation, remove her breasts and grow a mustache. She gives up her sexual inclinations to have an affair with him, but her parents attempt to break up the relationship because Axler is twenty five years older than her. The two meet a drunken young girl and have a tryst with her. Will these affairs lead to a revival of Axler's ability to act? Will the lesbian be able to remain in a heterosexual relationship? Will her parents succeed in dissuading her from the relationship with Axler? Will the woman from the clinic succeed in having her husband killed? Roth presents this tale in his brilliant, exciting, and beautifully written fashion.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.