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Henry Roth died on October 13, 1995. His extraordinary literary legacy includes the classic Call It Sleep and six volumes of Mercy of a Rude Stream, all completed before his death. A Diving Rock on the Hudson is the second volume in this series and follows A Star Shines over Mr. Morris Park, also published by Picador.
While still alive, Roth recieved two honorary doctorates, one from the University of New Mexico and one from the Hebrew Theological Institute in Cincinnati. Posthumously, he was honored by Hadassah Magazine with a special Harold U. Ribalow Prize for Distinguished Literary Achievement. He was also given a special honor by the Museum of the City of New York.
Even those who haven't read the late Roth's previous two books in this series (Mercy of a Rude Stream and A Diving Rock on the Hudson) will be profoundly affected by this third installment in the life of Roth's alter ego, Ira Stigman. A rich, provocative portrait of a mind in turmoil and a soul in torment, it is recalled, like the earlier books, both through the eyes of the young Stigman and through the musings of his now elderly self to his computer, called Ecclesias. The slum-raised Ira continues his friendship with Larry Gordon, who has introduced him to the refinements of an upper-middle-class Jewish milieu. Larry's lover, poet and CCNY professor Edith Welles (aka Eda Lou Walton), initiates Ira into the even more rarefied world of New York intellectuals and literati in the 1920s (Margaret Mead, Louise Bogan, Leonie Adams). The 20-year-old Ira is wracked by guilt about his incestuous relationships with his sister and his cousin; his turbulent feelings of social and intellectual inferiority; his sexual yearning for Edith, compounded by fears of betraying Larry. These memories of his youth are intermingled with the ruminations of the octogenarian Ira/Roth, concerning the dire events that would later occur: his decades-long writer's block after the publication of Call It Sleep when he was 28; his frequent depressions and inability to rise above blue-collar jobs, which meant that his wife, M, a promising composer when they met at Yaddo, was forced, as family wage earner, to abandon her creative career; his alienation from Judaism, which was not to end until the late 1960s. In these revelations, and in the candid scenes of life among barely Americanized, Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants and their rebellious offspring, Roth expresses his anguish with wrenching candor and self-loathing; he is consumed with bitterness about two wasted lives-his and M's. Yet in recounting Ira's release from "the bondage he had imposed on himself more than 70 years ago," Roth has wasted nothing. The continuing epic, to be revealed in further books, will surely constitute one of the most remarkable literary creations of this century. First serial to the New York Times Magazine.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Picador, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0312140851
Book Description Picador, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0312140851
Book Description Picador, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110312140851
Book Description Picador. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0312140851 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1021175