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Morris (Mickey) Sabbath is a 64-year-old former puppeteer with a prostate gland that belongs in the Urology Hall of Fame. In addition, the randy creation of Philip Roth's new comic novel (Houghton Mifflin; 451 pages; $24.95), is an Olympic-class misanthrope, an example of homo invectus so addicted to wrath that he rejects suicide on the ground that "everything he hated was here." "Roth still has the power to shock and amaze, although he's lost some of the fresh manic energy of 'Portnoy's Complaint' (1969)," notes TIME's R.Z. Sheppard. "Some readers will find the material and language too scabrous for their taste, while others will have their own reasons to cry foul. But there is much humor in what makes us uneasy, and Roth extracts it, as he has done for nearly 40 years, with a technique and verbal flair unmatched by his contemporaries."