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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 29, 1979)
mondsy, octcbcr 29,1979
Masterpiece of language
depicts an author's life
By Scott Kleager
The Ghost Writer, a new novel by Philip
Roth, may look as though it's a small book
and consequently quick reading, but in
content it's giant-sized. Due to the intro
spective nature of the narrative, the novel,
complete with all the fears that accompany
looking for oneself, seems existential.
0 0 0
Nathan, the narrator and main, charact
er, acts as though he's constantly on trial
with himself; always fearing that his pro
secution is getting the best of his defense.
The question he asks himself is: what will
happen to me if 1 become a great writer?
The answer one gets from the novel is
appropriately paranoid in that it concludes
that literary immensity walks hand-in-hand
with alienation from other human beings.
Roth leads us to this conclusion in a re
freshing and innovative manner.
Nathan is a young short story writer,
published in various prestigous literary
magazines, and a new face with great
He, like all writers', has an idol, in this
case a short story author by the name of E.
I, Lonoff. Nathan, we are told, has pre
viously requested an audience with his idol,
complete with all his published stories, and
to his surprise an invitation has been ext
tended. The entire novel takes place in less
than 24 hours and in only the setting of
E, I. LonofPs home. So, by the time he
finally meets the "great writer" he thinks
to himself, . . I should have been surpris
ed to find that I wasn't down on the hook
ed rug, supplicating at his feet,"
Lonoff is what Nathan desperately
wants to be someday and it's precisely this
reverence that causes some heavy soul
searching, FOR, AS IS soon found out, all things
are not exactly as Nathan assumes them to
be in the life of the man who represents his
future. In facMonoff's relationships with
people, both loved and unloved, are on the
brink of being miserable. It seems that
what people expect from the average
human being cannot be expected from the
great writer, causing bad feelings and
frustrating attempts to live normally which
become more impossible with each try.
This somewhat shocking discovery
comes to Nathan at a time when his
parents are outraged at him for writing a
certain, somewhat too-honest, story about
their family. Just when he needs the
positive support of another writer's un
troubled life, Nathan finds Lonoffs life in
much worse condition than his own. This
is just one aspect of the book which is
Stylistically the novel is a masterpiece in
gutsy alterations of the language. For ex-,
ample, his distinctive use of capitalization,
i, . . friends must stay away until four
Three is his religion of art, my younger
successor, rejecting life." Or, , , in that
moment of capitulation that I thought, But
of course last night is not the first time, , ."
It's a good thing he doesn't have writing
professors for editors.
ROTH, CONSISTANT with all his
works, is again the master of human de
scription. Of all the authors reviewed in
this column, Philip Roth is by far the best
pure writer. In descriptive narration he
appears to have spent the most time work
ing on his paragraphs and should be com
mended on the beautiful results.
For instance, this section describing one
of Lonoffs fictitious characters, , .The
tiniest impulse toward amplitude or self
surrender, let alone intrigue or adventure,
peremptorily extinguished, by the ruling
triumvirate of Sanity, Responsibility, and
Self-Respect, assisted handily by their de
voted underlings: the timetable, the rain
storm, the headache, the busy signal, the
traffic jam, and most loyal of all, the last
minute doubt. Roth's choice of words
throughout the novel is exquisite,
If you are willing to read a novel and
find it so well-written and meaningful that
you're forced to read it again, and if you'
appreciate a commanding use of the
English language and respect existentialism
.as a precise method of interpreting reality,
then read The Ghost Writer,
Look to the stars
The UNL Ralph Muelbr Planetarium wilLpresent this'
year's version of "Halloween Night in the Planetarium"
today tmougn Wednesday ai.q p.m.
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I U CK. "iUmU ITIWIOIT
I 13th &P 475-2222 j:j
Life of Brian
I m (R) l
I 5:20-7:20-9:20 j;
;i Tarka the Otter
I (G) I
j Time After Time
UNIQUE PORN!" -v o, id....,n
While in picking up your fresh
flowers reciter for a 10-speed
bicycle to be giuen away Oct 31
226 South Uth
EAST OF THE BR AN DEIS PARKING LOT
on bear & ht-baSs
Mon-Thirs. 11-11 pm
Fri. & Sat. 11-1 am
1228 T" St
"KHAT 106 FM"
160 TT-toft. Eb
$1.25 in advanca $1.75 at tha door
7 pm 10 pm Sun, thru Thun,
7 pm 12 pm Fri, thru Sat, & Halloween Night
Tickets available at Student Union, Millar & Paine, Sifrts,
Mageet. Mr, Bike, Front Step, Land & Sky (Cotner i 0 ),
Backsuoe, Mirty III, The Racquet Lounge. & Soup On.
Oct. 31-rJou. 3
At Tha Hi::on
Ififfil DIG RED BREAKFAST EVERY FOOTBALL SATUROAY
mm gbboc mm
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