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Portnoy's Complaint
by Philip Roth

289 pages Reprint edition (September 1994)
Vintage Books; ISBN: 0679756450

Along with Saul Bellow's Herzog, Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint defined Jewish American literature in the 1960s. Roth's masterpiece takes place on the couch of a psychoanalyst, an appropriate jumping-off place for an insanely comical novel about the Jewish American experience. Roth has written several great books--Goodbye, Columbus and When She Was Good among them, but it is perhaps Portnoy's Complaint for which he is best known.

articles and reviews
February 23, 1969

"Doctor, this is my only life and I'm living it in the middle of a Jewish joke!"

By Josh Greenfeld
Guilt-edged insecurity is far more important when it comes to the making--and unmaking--of an American Jew than, say, chicken soup or chopped liver. For guilt is as traditionally American as Thanksgiving Day pumpkin pie and, at the same time, on native grounds as far as Jews are concerned: it was the Jews who originated that mother lode of guilt, the theological concept of original sin; it was a Jew who developed psychoanalysis, that clinical faith based on a belief in the transferability and negotiability of long-term debts and credits in guilt. [read more]

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