Deception: A novel

by Philip Roth

Hardcover, 1990




New York : Simon and Schuster, c1990.


"With the lover everyday life recedes," Roth writes -- and exhibiting all his skill as a brilliant observer of human passion, he presents in Deception the tightly enclosed world of adulterous intimacy with a directness that has no equal in American fiction.At the center of Deception are two adulterers in their hiding place. He is a middle-aged American writer named Philip, living in London, and she is an articulate, intelligent, well-educated Englishwoman compromised by a humiliating marriage to which, in her thirties, she is already nervously half-resigned. The action consists of conversation -- mainly the lovers talking to each other before and after making love. That dialogue -- sharp, rich, playful, inquiring, "moving," as Hermione Lee writes, "on a scale of pain from furious bafflement to stoic gaiety" -- is nearly all there is to this audiobook, and all there needs to be."A fiendishly clever piece of work . . . an amazing feat. . . . He's invented the purest speech, the most convincing cadences, of any American novelist." -- William Pritchard, Hudson Review… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member realbigcat
I have read a lot of Philip Roth and this was not one of my favorites. A unique style of writing where by the entire book is basically conversation between the writer and his lovers. At times it's rather difficult to follow who is speaking. However, it's a quick read and of course Roth being the
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great writer does draw the reader in with his story and structure. I am getting a little tired of his rants on the Jewish people. He seems to bring it into every book and it's getting tiresome.
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LibraryThing member phredfrancis
The trend of my reviews on Goodreads thus far makes me think I am becoming less tolerant of literary experimentation and excess. I am aware of the fact that I have limited time to read, and consequently I want the books I spend time with to reward me in some way, either through entertainment or
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insight. In Deception, the only thing I found praiseworthy was the dialogue, but since there is little more to it than that, I found it easy to put down without finishing it. I enjoy good dialogue, but it matters to me not only how something is said, but what is being said, and the "what" in this instance was less than compelling.

Another barrier to entry into the world Roth creates in this novel is the distance I felt from his characters' concerns. Their unhappiness and issues seem like aspects of their lives over which they could exert control, but they choose not to. The frustration the female character expresses about her marriage and her inability to take joy in things sounded too much like the outtakes of a dull therapy session. And while I don't have the same aversion that some folks do to Roth's seeming obsession with the Jewish experience, it nevertheless becomes tiring to hear someone simply talk about it at length without gaining the additional perspective a more traditionally structured novel might offer.
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LibraryThing member MSarki
Poor sample to begin a new obsession. Will pass on Roth from here on out due to this pretty pathetic example of quality writing. No longer interested in reading anything he might add to my life if given a further chance.
LibraryThing member DanTarlin
Philip Roth wrote lots of books, and he can be really uneven. He's trying out different forms, and this one frankly doesn't work for me. The whole thing is presented as direct dialogue by a writer and his lover.
I thought I could work through the confusion of dialogue without context, when you
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can't even tell who's talking and what about at times, but frankly I didn't think the payoff was going to be worth the effort. So I gave up.

This is one of my favorite writers- I totally love the Zuckerman books- but this one is no good.
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