Philip Roth på Facebook

Läste nyligen Philip Roths Konspirationen mot Amerika, och skrev en kort recension av den på Facebook. Orkar inte skriva ngt. nytt om den bara för bloggen, så jag kopierar in texten från Facebook.

Någon som läst romanen i fråga, eller ngt. annat av Roth som ni rekommenderar (det här var min första Roth-roman)?

Going into this book, I was already impressed by the idea of it. Charles A. Lindbergh, hero aviator, anti-semite and isolationist, gets elected president and starts collaborating with Hitler and the entire superstar staff of the Third Reich; von Ribbentropp, Himmler, Göring, Goebbles. It’s the story of an America that gets sucked up into isolationist fantasies and the promises of a president, promises that will keep them out of the great war that’s raging the European continent, Russia, and the Asian half of the world. But at the same time this America throws out civilian rights and a good chunk of the moral pie. America becomes a nation for the select few, a nation for only the supporters of the chief of the hour.

And America is targeting the Jews, no surprise there. The Roth family is the focal point of the novel. We see them in their everyday life in Newark, from the first days of the Lindbergh candidacy, to the last days of his presidency. As little Philip, our narrator, gets to know more of the world, he at the same time gets to know that there is no knowledge that will enable you to live a better life. EVerything crumbles, is what he seems to learn in school, in the streets, and even in his own home. Riots break out when paranoia is spreading through the country. Is there a big Jewish conspiracy that lead to the kidnapping and murder of president Lindbergh? Why did the president disappear? Where is he? What has Germany and Hitler got to do with all this? Jewish leaders and kidnapped and arrested. Normal citizens don’t dare walk the streets in fear of massive pogroms. 120 people, Jewish people, are killed in just a few days.

This is a very well researched book. It feels quite real. It’s fascinating to try and follow the line between the actual, historic reality and Roth’s fictionalization of the possibilities that lay latent in the real-time America of the 30’s and 40’s.

The Plot Against America is a good story about a family that got caught up in a web of paranoia and fear. Philip Roth’s writing is intimate and detailed. The really frightening thing about this novel is that it lays open how easily an entire nation is passivated and deceived by sweet-talking politicians and bureaucrats. The context of the book is now history, but the topic of it is still current and relevant. Whether Roth intended it or not, this novel speaks as much of the time it was written in (published in 2004), with the re-election hysteria of Bush, as it does of the 1930’s and 1940’s.

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