Review: Everyman — Philip Roth

Read: 100
To Go: 0

Book List:
91. The Sailor on the Seas of Fate — Michael Moorcock
92. The Weird of the White Wolf — Michael Moorcock
93. The Vanishing Tower — Michael Moorcock
94. The Bane of the Black Sword — Michael Moorcock
95. Stormbringer — Michael Moorcock
96. Nine Dragons — Michael Connelly
97. The Last Crossing — Guy Vanderhaeghe
98. The Night Circus — Erin Morgenstern
99. A Thousand Farewells — Nahlah Ayed
100. Everyman — Philip Roth

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The fate of Roth’s everyman is traced from his first shocking confrontation with death on the idyllic beaches of his childhood summers, through the family trials and professional achievements of his vigorous adulthood, and into his old age, when he is rended by observing the deterioration of his contemporaries and stalked by his own physical woes.

Well, it’s official — I’m done the challenge! I’m actually a bit surprised, because even up until this morning I thought there was a chance I could still lose it. But I didn’t, so let’s have a mini-wave in the celebration of me! The year-end review will probably come a little later on in the day, if not tomorrow morning. (And will be filled with lists and also interactive graphs, which everyone should be very excited about.)

Leading up to the end of the challenge, I wanted to pick a book that felt like an appropriate conclusion novel. I couldn’t decide between Everyman, which felt, to me, like an all-encompassing sort of title, and The Reader by Bernard Schlink, which of course is a title that sounds like me. In the end the page count decided it, as per usual. Everyman was the shorter book, and so I read it last. 

Everyman is the story of the nameless main character — the Everyman, as it were — being forced to come to terms with his own mortality, as he suffers through several major health concerns during his life, from a hernia to an almost-heart attack. Throughout the story his father’s watch and jewelry-repair shop pops up frequently, especially mentions of watches, and serve as a metaphor for the time the narrator, and those around him, have left. Giving the main character no name leaves a hole in which the reader can easily fall into, and find themselves wondering and worrying over the same concerns that Everyman contemplates. It’s a relatable and poignant read, and I’m glad that it was my last of the year.

Next up: the year-end review!

– Kelsey

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