Philip Roth is one of the finest writers in the United States and Blackstone Audio’s pairing of this book with Malcolm Hillgartner’s narration is an excellent match.
An older Nathan Zuckerman recalls a visit to his idol and mentor E. I. Lonoff, 20 years ago when Nathan was 23. During the visit Nathan begins to confront his Jewishness as a part of his identity, specifically his identity as a writer.
There is a reason behind Nathan’s identity crisis. His parents believe his latest manuscript is anti-semitic. Being told that “artists are responsible to their community” has left him questioning his identity both as an author and as a Jew.
Not only is E. I. Lonoff Nathan’s idol, but he’s also the Ghost of (Nathan’s) Christmas Future. It’s comedic to watch Nathan sentimentalise his hero’s family life while it disintegrates. There is tension between Lonoff’s wife and the young research assistant staying with them with strong suggestions of an affair between Lonoff and the younger woman; an affair which Nathan also manages to romanticise.
This is the first novel featuring Nathan Zuckerman who went on to appear in an additional eight of Roth’s novels. Roth is a profoundly talented author and this book, originally published 37 years ago, demonstrates his undeniable skill as a writer.
I’m also very excited about Malcolm Hillgartner’s narration. I’m used to hearing George Guidall and a select few others narrating Roth’s novels. Hillgartner’s narration is easily their equal. His voice a perfect fit for this novel and I’ll look forward to more audiobooks with his voice. Excellent casting from Blackstone Audio, and as usual a great production. A big thanks to Blackstone Audio for making this book available in audio format.
The Ghost Writer • by Philip Roth • read by Malcolm Hillgartner • 4.5 hours • published by Blackstone Audio • May 03, 2016 • ISBN 9781504726580