The Dying Animal Paperback
by Philip Roth
'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 America's most unflaggingly energetic and morally serious novelist launches perhaps his fiercest book.
The speaker is David Kepesh, white-haired and over sixty, an eminent TV culture 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, humblingly beautiful twenty-four-year-old daughter of Cuban exiles.
When he becomes involved with her, Kepesh finds himself dragged helplessly into the quagmire of sexual jealousy and loss.
In chronicling the themes of eros and mortality, licence and repression, freedom and sacrifice.
The Dying Animal is a burning coal of a book, filled with intellectual heat and not a little danger.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 176 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 05/04/2002
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780099422693
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by ragwaine
His best so far. Extremely cool and sexual. Plus Zuleika read it and we had long hours of talk afterward.
Review by cshoughton
There's a lot of power in this story. At first I marvelled at the authors ability to weave the narrative so well. The next thing I knew I was doubled over bawling.<br/><br/>I suppose the book is at once a character study and a commentary on the evolution of western culture; both intermingle flawlessly. But mostly, it spoke to me of the inevitability of death. The main character ignores the reality and responsibility of his own mortal prison, but all that does is illuminate Consuela's story. It is in that light, her light, that we make out the shape of the animal that is David.<br/><br/>When was it that I too began to think of age in terms of how much time I had left, rather than how long I'd been alive?<br/><br/>I'd rate this five stars if it weren't for the nagging sense that the author had it in him to tighten up the narrative, pull out some of the historical musings, and focus the inner monologue. For whatever reason, he tied things up a little too loosely. Still, be careful. Don't ever underestimate Roth.