Friday, July 13, 2007

Book Review: The Plot Against America

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

Roth has created an extremely ambitious novel that pushes the memory and the possibilities of history. A semi-autobiographical novel that takes place in a time that doesn't exist seems like a strange premise, but Roth is convincing in his telling of this imagined history. Perhaps too convincing. Roth spends so much time covering facts and information from the political and historical context that the actual human story suffers for it. We care less about little Philip than we do about how in the world their are going to oust the fascist Lindbergh.

The novel disappoints for other reasons as well. The key moments in the novel seem to have written around, the actual drama circumvented, and we're left with again with the drab historical or the "oh yeah, that happened." Never the less, the novel does make clear how little things might have to change for things in this country to really come off the rails. And it was damn frightening just for that.

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