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Indignation

Narrated by: Ray Chase
Length: 4 hrs and 15 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

In 1951, the second year of the Korean War, a studious, law-abiding, and intense youngster from Newark, New Jersey, Marcus Messner, begins his sophomore year on the pastoral, conservative campus of Ohio's Winesburg College. And why is he there and not at a local college in Newark where he originally enrolled? Because his father, the sturdy, hardworking neighborhood butcher, seems to have gone mad - mad with fear and apprehension of the dangers of adult life, the dangers of the world, the dangers he sees on every corner for his beloved boy. Far from Newark, Marcus has to find his way amid the customs and constrictions of another American world.

Indignation, Philip Roth's 29th book, is a startling departure from the haunted narratives of old age and experience in Roth's recent books and a powerful exploration of a remarkable moment in American history.

©2008 Philip Roth (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Darwin8u
  • Darwin8u
  • 22-08-2016

Tight, beautiful and also strange and sad.

“Of a terrible, the incomprehensible way one's most banal, incidental, even comical choices archive the most disproportionate result.”
― Philip Roth, Indignation

There was a period when I hated Roth's small books. I loved his big, strong, hefty books. I thought DeLillo and Roth's novella periods were horrible indulgences; vanity projects meant to expel some small idea, some festering detail yet unexplored in their earlier masterpieces. A prose zit popping. I still think they are a bit indulgent and not as good as Roth and DeLillo's great works, but I guess as I get a bit older, I become less indignant of things that matter little, really.

Anyway, this novella moved up my list because several Roth books have recently been made into movies and this looked like one my wife and I would go to together. So, I brought home my small, beautiful, yet unread, autographed copy of Roth's 'Indignation'.

My wife read it first, and finished it. That was a good sign. She has a very low toleration for crap and where I MUST finish something, she has no problem abandoning a novel if it doesn't measure up to her minute-by-minute standards (this creates a bit of uncertainty in our marriage and keeps me on my toes). She felt it was a bit darker than she typically likes. Once, early in our marriage, my wife summarized my literary taste as "older white men with sexual issues". Obviously, reading Roth is bound to solidify that stereotype.

When I started reading the novel, I was tickled to find a bunch of not-so-subtle allusions to Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. Anderson's book of related short stories seems to have been an inspiration, or at least a harbinger of, of this later Roth novella. While I don't love this book as much as Anderson's book, I still enjoyed it (as much as one can enjoy a book about death, loneliness, isolation, rigidity, and indignation). It was tight, beautiful, and also strange and sad. IT was a Philip Roth novella.

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Richard Delman
  • Richard Delman
  • 24-08-2016

The movie: see IT! Do NOT listen to this...

Would you try another book from Philip Roth and/or Ray Chase?

Nope. I have been off Mr. Roth since Portnoy's Complaint, and this book reminds me of why I have neither read nor listened to anything of his for decades. He was remarkably immature when he wrote about masturbating into his family's dinner some forty years ago. In all this time, he has not grown up and out of his adolescent preoccupations. The semi-final scene in the book, which is set in a fictional town called Winesburg, Ohio, at the university there: the scene is actually a very large panty-raid by the male students! Panty raids? Are we still talking about shite like this in 2016?

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something very different from this.

How could the performance have been better?

Mr. Chase has very limited talents, a good match for the material, actually. He reads so fast that you can't keep up, and after a while you don't care to.

Could you see Indignation being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

It is already a wonderful movie. See it. The stars are Logan Lerman and Sarah Gadon. I had never heard of either, but they both are terrific. The movie is so much better than the book. It treats very complicated material with sensitivity. I won't spoil the plot for you, but I will say that these two young people fall in love very quickly at the ridiculously repressive University of Winesburg. The Dean of Men is a great villain: a self-righteous, bullying, intrusive, Jew-baiting, hyper-Christian who interrogates Marcus Messner as if he were already proven guilty of rape and other crimes against humanity. Sarah Gadon is a match for Lerman. Portraying a tormented young woman who, uh, surprises Marcus on their first date, she is utterly true in every scene.

Any additional comments?

Pretty obvious how much I enjoyed this, eh? Don't waste your money on the book, when the movie is being reviewed by some as the best drama of the year.

7 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for AnnelieT
  • AnnelieT
  • 30-10-2017

I'm glad I stuck through the end

I was having a hard time staying interested in the book and the story, and if I was reading on paper, I probably wouldn't have finished the book. I think listening on audio kept me interested enough to finish and I'm glad I did -- I found the last 25% or so of the book the most interesting part.

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Profile Image for Carla Espinoza
  • Carla Espinoza
  • 25-10-2017

Coming of Age Story

Tightly woven story. Typical Roth. A reminder that each age and era has its norms and mores.

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Profile Image for GeorgiaGirl in Maryland
  • GeorgiaGirl in Maryland
  • 01-08-2017

Short, but detailed characters

The book is short, but does a great job of quickly bringing to life the characters and their attributes...both positive and negative. Author gives you thoughts to think about and reasons to like, love and forgive.

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Profile Image for Christopher
  • Christopher
  • 04-04-2017

Wordy, succinct and ultimately forgettable

The title of the book brings to mind an insufferable dolt who snubs every disagreeable encounter one would face growing up Jewish and being sent off to a military academy. This book would be valuable to those who are challenged by the nuances of the English language, but not much more.

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Profile Image for Brownp
  • Brownp
  • 03-04-2017

How Have I Missed This?

Having been a long time Roth fan I don't know how this book has escaped me.

This is a coming of age book about a young man out of his element and whose teenage angst and neurosis went beyond the pale when he left home to attend college in another part of the country.

At the beginning, one might find the pressures speech of the narrator. As the character develops it is apparent that this character thinks and expresses himself in this manner. The narration is perfect.

The book takes place in 1951, but globally and politically has much to say about our current time. Young readers will be surprised at the constant thoughts of young men regarding the draft into military service. Neurosis and all, this young man's thoughts and fears are those of young men across the country.

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Profile Image for Rejena
  • Rejena
  • 19-09-2016

Roth brings it!

What made the experience of listening to Indignation the most enjoyable?

I liked the reader and the story kept me going on a long trip.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Indignation?

I liked the difference the characters of the book had to the idea of the ideal college student of the time of the book (the 50's)

What does Ray Chase bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mr. Chase did a great job taking me through the book and through my long day of driving. His tone is strong and I enjoyed his speed and the way he brought Marcus into my car.

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Profile Image for MsCK
  • MsCK
  • 18-08-2016

Good bit not a showstopper

Quick and interesting read. I think the character development for the movie might be better. I was left wanting more.