Portnoy's Complaint

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Random House, Sep 7, 2010 - Fiction - 272 pages
38 Reviews

Portnoy's Complaint n. [after Alexander Portnoy (1933-)]

A disorder in which strongly-felt ethical and altruistic impulses are perpetually warring with extreme sexual longings, often of a perverse nature. Spielvogel says: 'Acts of exhibitionism, voyeurism, fetishism, auto-eroticism and oral coitus are plentiful; as a consequence of the patient's "morality," however, neither fantasy nor act issues in genuine sexual gratification, but rather in overriding feelings of shame, and the dread of retribution, particularly in the form of castration.' (Spielvogel, O. 'The Puzzled Penis, Internationale Zeitschrift für Psychoanalyse, Vol. XXIV, p.909). It is believed by Spielvogel that many of the symptoms can be traced to the bonds obtaining in the mother-child relationship.

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User Review  - martensgirl - LibraryThing

I picked up this book completely ignorant of its content, When I realised it was a first-person Jewish introspection I was concerned it would be a tedious ramble, reminiscent of Jacobson's The Finkler ... Read full review

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User Review  - steadfastreader - LibraryThing

Thank FSM I finished this book. Maybe I'm not smart enough. Maybe I don't do well with this particular style of literature but dear lord! It's the rambling of a madman... more or less. Consumed and ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

In 1997 Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House, and in 2002 the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction, previously awarded to John Dos Passos, William Faulkner and Saul Bellow, among others. He has twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has won the PEN/Faulkner Award three times. In 2005 The Plot Against America received the Society of American Historians’ Prize for ‘the outstanding historical novel on an American theme for 2003–2004’.

Recently Roth received PEN’s two most prestigious prizes: in 2006 the PEN/Nabokov Award ‘for a body of work . . . of enduring originality and consummate craftsmanship’ and in 2007 the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, given to a writer whose ‘scale of achievement over a sustained career . . . places him or her in the highest rank of American literature’. In 2011 Roth won the International Man Booker Prize.

Roth is the only living American writer to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America.

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