Friday, October 9, 2009

Novel notes: "The Great American Novel"

I was lucky enough to find a tattered copy of Philip Roth's "The Great American Novel" at my local library. And it's a damn good read, perhaps one of the funniest books I've ever read, baseball-related or otherwise. (And correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe Roth is noted for being a funny writer.)

I'm still reading it, but I wanted to share a really great line that I believe sums up Roth's writing style. The line is referring to an aged but still beautiful woman named Angela Trust who is the owner of a baseball team in the now-defunct Patriot League. She inherited the team from her husband, for whom she has a great amount of respect and reverence now that he's dead. She has also had heated affairs with some of baseball's biggest names, including Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth.

This is how Roth describes Angela Trust's love life:

There had been five men in her life who mattered, and none had been her husband; her affair with him had begun only after he was in the ground.

It's shockingly good writing.

Most of Roth's best lines in the book are aimed at humor, and I've found myself laughing out loud several times.

The book is due back at the library in a week, so I'll either have a review done soon or I'll have to recheck it.

--Matt Kelsey

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