Friday, November 19, 2010
I'm not in my 70s like the unnamed narrator of this novel, but I have begun thinking like him. Until three years ago I was running 30 or 40 miles a week, I felt more fit than I was in my 20s, and I imagined remaining that vigorous into my 50s. Then: hip problem, knee problems, long periods of rest, a sudden renewal followed by a summer of 5-mile runs and P90X, and then knee problems again. Now I'm lucky to catch an hour of cardio a week on my bike and I'm quickly losing my endurance and I'm starting to think about aging as something I'm not avoiding anymore.
Roth's Everyman is about the decay of the body and the not-so-gradual descent to death. But it's not a glum or morbid meditation. If you've read and loved his other stuff, you'll likely dig this, though the pacing is not as breathless as the work I regard as his peak: I Married a Communist, Sabbath's Theater, American Pastoral, there's still that charmed poignance, the sly wit, that awesome ecompassing consciousness of the American experience. Dude's on an unparalleled roll.