Monday 18 October 2010

What are you reading? Dr. Robert Spencer

I am reading Philip Roth’s new novel, Nemesis. It is set, as usual, in Newark, New Jersey during the polio epidemic of 1944. It’s brilliant as always and has all the themes of Roth’s late fiction – anxious masculinity, the capricious nature of fate, lucid nostalgia, the awful fact of mortality and impotent rage at God. I’m also appreciating Peter Ackroyd’s Jack Maggs, which retells Great Expectations from Magwitch’s point of view. Less arduous but equally thought-provoking is Tim Krabbe’s The Ride which I read on the train yesterday for the six millionth time – the best book about cycling ever written. Krabbe is the Joseph Conrad of sport writing.