Like Pushkin and Dostoevsky before him, Philip Roth takes on the subject of the writer’s double, which for Roth is inevitably bound up in Jewishness and identity. This is a bold, inventive and energetic departure from his past novels, a meta-novel, and, like all of his writing, full of ideas, wit, humor and startling observation.
One of Bartal’s agents is on a mission to kidnap an Iranian general, interrogate him, then kill him. But the plan goes terribly wrong when the agent, the head of a Mossad special unit, is captured instead—generating a series of escalating crises in Europe and Asia, which results in the death, one member at a time, of the Ring of the Nibelungs: a sleeper cell network of Mossad agents.
Convinced that there is a traitor within the Mossad, Bartal must race to identify and eliminate the mole. His first hunch leads him to Berlin, but as his investigation evolves, Bartal is forced to confront Europe's dark, troubled history. Is he chasing an elusive ghost across the Continent? Or is he closing in on a ruthless killer who refuses to let go of the past?
Filled with harrowing twists and edge-of-the-seat suspense, Ring of Lies is an adrenaline-fueled, nail-biting story of espionage and the first novel from Roni Dunevich’s award-winning Alex Bartal series to be translated into English.
“A novel as good as one could hope to find from any author, anywhere, anytime. Engrossing, moving, thoroughly satisfying.” —Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22
Philip Roth is hailed by many as the reigning king of American fiction. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, this memoir about love, survival and memory is one of his most intimate books, but also one of his most intellectually vigorous. Patrimony is Roth’s elegy to his father, written with piercing observation and wit at the height of his literary prowess.
The Counterlife is about people enacting their dreams of renewal and escape, some of them going so far as to risk their lives to alter seemingly irreversible destinies. Every major character (and most of the minor ones) is investigating, debating, and arguing the possibility of remaking the future.
Illuminating these lives in transition and guiding us through all the landscapes, familiar and foreign, where these people are seeking self-transformation, is the mind of the novelist Nathan Zuckerman. His is the skeptical, enveloping intelligence that calculates the price that's paid in the struggle to change personal fortune and to reshape history.
Yet his is hardly the only voice. This is a novel in which speaking out with force and lucidity appears to be the imperative of every life. There is Henry, the forty-year-old New Jersey dentist, who risks a quintuple bypass operation in order to escape the coronary medication that renders him sexually impotent. There is Maria, the wellborn young Englishwoman, who invites the disdain of her family by marrying the American she knows will be lease acceptable in Gloucestershire. There is Lippmann, the Israeli settlement leader, who contends that "everything is possible for the Jew if only he does not give ground."
The action in The Counterlife ranges from a dentist's office in quiet suburban New Jersey to a genteel dining table in a tradition-bound English village, from a Christmas carol service in London's West End to a Sabbath evening celebration in a tiny desert settlement in Israel's occupied West Bank. Wherever they may find themselves, the characters of The Counterlife are tempted unceasingly by the prospect of an alternative existence that can reverse their fate.
The Counterlife was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award.