Books: Make It New

MY LIFE AS A MAN by PHILIP ROTH 330 pages. Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

$8.95.

Now in his 41st year, Philip Roth still seems the most promising young novelist in America. With seven books behind him since Goodbye, Columbus won the National Book Award 15 years ago, he continues to apply to each succeeding title the thrust of a brilliant newcomer, as if staking out his subject and defining his voice for the first time.

The Roth determination not to repeat himself is becoming, in fact, his most famous and only predictable trait. The writer who...

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