Indignation

Indignation

Book - 2008
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What impact can American history have on the life of the vulnerable individual? It is 1951 in America, the second year of the Korean War. A studious, law-abiding, intense youngster from Newark, New Jersey, Marcus Messner, is beginning his sophomore year on the pastoral, conservative campus of Ohio's Winesburg College. And why is he there and not at the local college in Newark where he originally enrolled? Because his father, the sturdy, hard-working neighborhood butcher, seems to have gone mad--mad with fear and apprehension of the dangers of adult life, the dangers of the world, the dangers he sees in every corner for his beloved boy. As the long-suffering, desperately harassed mother tells her son, the father's fear arises from love and pride. Perhaps, but it produces too much anger in Marcus for him to endure living with his parents any longer. He leaves them and, far from Newark, in the midwestern college, has to find his way amid the customs and constrictions of another American world.--From publisher's description.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 2008.
ISBN: 9780547054841
054705484X
9780307388919
Call Number: ROTH
Characteristics: 233 p. ; cm.
Subjects: Ohio -- Fiction.
New Jersey -- Fiction.
Self-realization -- Fiction.
Antisemitism -- Fiction.
Nineteen fifties -- Fiction.
Jewish college students -- Fiction.
Young men -- Fiction.

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sigridmac
Jun 24, 2017

Great story about a boy growing up in Newark, New Jersey, who goes off to college in 1951. Leaves behind a fractious relationship with his father, whom he once loved and worked together closely with, before the father became suffocating and crazed with the idea that something would happen to his precious son. The father worries that something will go wrong at any moment and fails to see the larger picture that the most worrisome villain in the story is the – spoiler alert – Korean War.

Marcus strikes up a relationship with a girl by the name of Olivia once he gets to college in Ohio, but on their first date Olivia performs – major spoiler – a particular sexual act that shocks our virginal naïve Marcus. I know this is supposed to be 1951, but this scene never rang true for me. Marcus was so freaked out by something that was not albeit common place but certainly must have occurred from time to time. He concludes that she must have emotional problems, and he has other reasons to believe that this is the case.

Some terrific debating/arguments with the Dean, a substitute father figure, and once again a real shocker for us to look back at what college life was like 65 years ago when girls had curfews and schools actually mandated church attendance. Well worth watching but the relationship dynamics just did not resonate with me. Fantastic ending.

l
laphampeak
Dec 03, 2016

Although not a very long book it's packed with symbolism. Life/death, emotional pain/adolescent freedom, parent/children, war/at home......With Roth it's never just the story.
On Marcus's thought when fellow student died:"..the only people I knew who had died were my two older cousins who'd been killed in the war. Elwyn was the first person who died that I hated. Must I now stop hating him to begin mourning him? Must I now start pretending that I was sorry to hear that he was dead,.................go to memorial service at the fraternity house and express condolences to his fraternity brothers, many of whom I knew as drunks who whistled through their fingers at me and called me something sounding suspiciously like "Jew"...."Elwyn, can you hear me? It's Messner! I'm dead too!"
He compares Olivia's wrist slitting to ritual slaughter not unlike his father's job as a kosher butcher.
Read it, digest it, contemplate!

k
Ky68RasK
Nov 28, 2016

First novel by Roth that I've ever read. Will read more, for sure.

l
leahrei
Sep 08, 2016

I think I found this book after reading in the Seattle Times that a movie was going to be made. I'm sure it has deep symbolism and life lessons; but, to me, it was a story of a guy who got a blow job and couldn't stop fixating on it. I think I'll skip the movie!

b
bookwormjeph
Sep 22, 2013

having read a few of Roth's books over the years I find him to be a mixed bag of blessings, readability and enjoyment. This one I did enjoy-quite a lot actually. The detailed nature of the main character's life and subsequent descent into fear, paranoia and a slight case of madness is enthralling. And I hope that's not a reflection of my state of mind whilst reading it!!

ChristchurchLib Sep 16, 2013

"When Marcus Messner turned 18, his father, a kosher butcher in Newark, New Jersey, became ridiculously overprotective (to be fair, it's 1951, the height of the Korean War, and Marcus's father is worried his son will be drafted). After attending college for a year while living at home, Marcus has had it with his father, so he flees to rural, conservative Winesburg College in Ohio. There, citified Marcus is a bit out of his depth, especially when confronted with obnoxious roommates, the college dean, and pretty girls who are rather more experienced than he. Readers of Philip Roth's other works will notice similar themes here, but Indignation has pleasures - and surprises - all its own." September 2013 Fiction A to Z newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=678205

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