Or Maybe Roth Just Needed to Be Called to the Bench This Round

Nicholas Spice on Everyman: “Everyman has none of this propulsive linguistic exuberance [identified in previous books]. Its energy is of a quite different kind. It is a funerary portrait, a short account of a man’s life cast in the bias of a preoccupation with bodily decay. The story is told in retrospect, the mood is valedictory and morose. Most stories we read or listen to are told in the past tense, but we forget this and experience them as though they were happening now; wondering what happens next is what keeps our attention. In Everyman nothing happens next, not just because the protagonist is buried in the opening scene, but because what we learn of his life comes to us mainly through what he remembers.”

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