Books: The Perils of Portnoy

Any work by Philip Roth commands attention. Lately, the author of Goodbye, Columbus, Letting Go and When She Was Good, one of the best of America's younger novelists, has chosen to exhibit his new fiction piecemeal in various magazines. His theme—the psychological problems of a modern Jewish-American—is not exactly new. But to judge from what has appeared so far, Roth's latest work looks like the most brilliant piece of radical humor in years.

It takes the form of a series of monologues ranted by a patient at his psychoanalyst. The patient is a 34-year-old...

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