Books: Goodbye, Nathan Zuckerman

The Anatomy Lesson concludes Philip Roth's comic trilogy

"Does he know his sentence?" "No," said the officer, eager to go on with his exposition . . . "There would be no point in telling him. He'll learn it on his body."

—Franz Kafka, In the Penal Colony

Nearly 25 years after Goodbye, Columbus brought him early fame and 15 years since Portnoy 's Complaint made him notorious and rich, Philip Roth continues to be misunderstood, or understood too quickly. There are causes for confusion: the contrast between the high-minded explainer of literary culture and the...

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