Patrimony : a true story

by Philip Roth

Paperback, 1996

Status

Available

Publication

New York : Vintage Books, 1996.

Description

Patrimony, a true story, touches the emotions as strongly as anything Philip Roth has ever written. Roth watches as his eighty-six-year-old father--famous for his vigor, charm, and his repertoire of Newark recollections--battles with the brain tumor that will kill him. The son, full of love, anxiety, and dread, accompanies his father through each fearful stage of his final ordeal, and, as he does so, discloses the survivalist tenacity that has distinguished his father's long, stubborn engagement with life.

User reviews

LibraryThing member polutropos
It is surprising that a novelist as entertaining as Philip Roth could write a memoir as dull as this. Not particularly illuminating about fathers and sons or anything else. Read some of the good novels; skip this.
LibraryThing member goose114
Patrimony tells the story of Philip Roth’s father’s battle with a brain tumor. We are taken through the last few years of his life – his struggle, his decline, and his ultimate death. Roth documents all the triumphs and struggles his father has with his declining health while showcasing his father’s past. The relationship between Roth and his father is highlighted throughout the story which leads to some touching moments.

Philip Roth writes beautifully and this book is no exception. However, I was not taken in by this story. There were times where I felt that Roth was showcasing his accomplishments and talents. At other times I did not understand the point of a specific narrative and its significance to the story of his father. Ultimately this book had some heartwarming and heart wrenching parts, but I would not say this is one of Roth’s best works. Anyone dealing with an elderly parent may get more out of this book than I did.
… (more)
LibraryThing member realbigcat
Philp Roth again shows why he is one the greatest living American writers. This is a touching tale of his father's life from the perspective of his final days after discovering a brain tuimor. Anyone who has dealt with the health issues of a declining parent will quickly relate to this book. Roth is touching and very human in his role as caregiver for his father. He pulls no punches in is struggle with medical decisions, care givers and his father's decline. His graphic depiction of his father's bathroom accident is something everyone can relate with but few would descibe with such detail. Overall this is an excellant story. There's no happy ending but their seldom is with the reality of death.… (more)
LibraryThing member idiotgirl
Audiobook. Very good book. Roth's story of his father's final years. Late 80s dying from a "benign" brain tumor. Also about making sense of one's parents, growing old as well. I finished this book on Tuesday night and woke Wednesday morning to the news of Ted Kennedy's death from a "malignant" brain tumor. Roth is such a good writer and this book is a labor of love. The final images of this book keep playing and replaying in my mind. Leaves me thinking about my own parents, about mortality, about a good end.… (more)
LibraryThing member Eeekievonkane
Recommended by my writing teacher, beautifully written. Fine example of showing, not telling. Great balance of narrator's voice and story of his father. Light touch.
LibraryThing member Y2Ash
Patrimony is about author Philip Roth dealing with his father's debilitating and rapidly growing brain tumor. It takes away his autonomy and eventually his life. Patrimony depicts about a three year period in the late 1980's at the first onset of the tumor, which was originally misdiagnosed as Bell's Palsy, that gave his father, Hermann, partial facial paralysis to splitting headaches and loss of equilibrium.

Patrimony has what I have always called the "Titanic Effect." I'm sure it actually has a proper name but I have never looked for it. The Titanic Effect is that the person is aware of the tragic event but getting there is still so heartbreaking even though you knew it was already going to happened.

I knew Hermann Roth was going to die. I knew how he was going to die. But it is so sad to read about. I felt badly for Philip because it was incredibly difficult to reconcile with the fact that this strong, obstinate, hard working man had become so frail and was not going to live much longer. It must have been hard for Hermann to feel the deterioration of his body; that he couldn't do the same things that he once did. Slowly, his independence was slipping from him.

I felt almost compelled to read this book as rapidly as I did because I'm in a parallel situation with my Grandmother. I'm thinking the way the novelist felt is how my mother must be starting to feel. It's startling to see that someone who was once so strong is now so weak. If my mother was any kind of reader, I would give her this one.

This was my first Roth book. What made me buy it was that when I read the New York Times article announcing his retirement, Patrimony and a brief synopsis was mentioned. It sounded interesting. Patrimony was a very realistic and visceral account of celebrating a life and realizing you'll have to let it go.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Y2Ash
Patrimony is about author Philip Roth dealing with his father's debilitating and rapidly growing brain tumor. It takes away his autonomy and eventually his life. Patrimony depicts about a three year period in the late 1980's at the first onset of the tumor, which was originally misdiagnosed as Bell's Palsy, that gave his father, Hermann, partial facial paralysis to splitting headaches and loss of equilibrium.

Patrimony has what I have always called the "Titanic Effect." I'm sure it actually has a proper name but I have never looked for it. The Titanic Effect is that the person is aware of the tragic event but getting there is still so heartbreaking even though you knew it was already going to happened.

I knew Hermann Roth was going to die. I knew how he was going to die. But it is so sad to read about. I felt badly for Philip because it was incredibly difficult to reconcile with the fact that this strong, obstinate, hard working man had become so frail and was not going to live much longer. It must have been hard for Hermann to feel the deterioration of his body; that he couldn't do the same things that he once did. Slowly, his independence was slipping from him.

I felt almost compelled to read this book as rapidly as I did because I'm in a parallel situation with my Grandmother. I'm thinking the way the novelist felt is how my mother must be starting to feel. It's startling to see that someone who was once so strong is now so weak. If my mother was any kind of reader, I would give her this one.

This was my first Roth book. What made me buy it was that when I read the New York Times article announcing his retirement, Patrimony and a brief synopsis was mentioned. It sounded interesting. Patrimony was a very realistic and visceral account of celebrating a life and realizing you'll have to let it go.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Y2Ash
Patrimony is about author Philip Roth dealing with his father's debilitating and rapidly growing brain tumor. It takes away his autonomy and eventually his life. Patrimony depicts about a three year period in the late 1980's at the first onset of the tumor, which was originally misdiagnosed as Bell's Palsy, that gave his father, Hermann, partial facial paralysis to splitting headaches and loss of equilibrium.

Patrimony has what I have always called the "Titanic Effect." I'm sure it actually has a proper name but I have never looked for it. The Titanic Effect is that the person is aware of the tragic event but getting there is still so heartbreaking even though you knew it was already going to happened.

I knew Hermann Roth was going to die. I knew how he was going to die. But it is so sad to read about. I felt badly for Philip because it was incredibly difficult to reconcile with the fact that this strong, obstinate, hard working man had become so frail and was not going to live much longer. It must have been hard for Hermann to feel the deterioration of his body; that he couldn't do the same things that he once did. Slowly, his independence was slipping from him.

I felt almost compelled to read this book as rapidly as I did because I'm in a parallel situation with my Grandmother. I'm thinking the way the novelist felt is how my mother must be starting to feel. It's startling to see that someone who was once so strong is now so weak. If my mother was any kind of reader, I would give her this one.

This was my first Roth book. What made me buy it was that when I read the New York Times article announcing his retirement, Patrimony and a brief synopsis was mentioned. It sounded interesting. Patrimony was a very realistic and visceral account of celebrating a life and realizing you'll have to let it go.
… (more)
LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
Philip Roth delivers a touching tribute to his father. With eloquence, humor and the utmost respect he shares his father's illness leading up to his final days. Herman Roth wakes up one morning to a strange paralysis, drooping eyelid, slack cheek and slurred speech, on one side of his face. Thinking he has had a stroke Philip takes his father to see a doctor. The news is worse. Herman has a brain tumor at the base of his skull that has been growing for ten years. What follows is a journey of father and son, navigating medical treatments and traversing the rough road of relationships. The result is a touching memoir of discovery for both father and son. If you have never read anything by Roth, read this.… (more)

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