With The Dying Animal, he revisits the character David Kepesh. At age 60, Kapesh is drawn out of his carefully ordered existence and into an obsessive affair with one of his students.
Nothing in the summary hints at the sucker-punch that this book delivers in its heartrending conclusion. The frame of this novel is the love affair between an older college professor (David) and his beautiful student (Consuela), who is many years younger. The themes of this book include the struggle for meaning in life, loss of youth, mortality, connection, sexual fulfillment, familial loyalty and disloyalty, and honesty with oneself. The themes are developed by the primary story, as well as by a series of remembrances that David narrates from his life. Yes, there are quite a number of scenes of explicitly described sex and sexual fantasies. Gratuitous? No. Pornographic? No. Stick with this short novel to the end. It is well worth it. Very well narrated.
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"The Dying Animal" explores those corners of human mind where the lust and sexual desires live.
The main character of the book is the aging man named Kepesh, an intellectual celebrity, amateur pianist and university scholar.
Divorced when was still quite young he kept his solitude as a virtue, a freedom and ... the ground for endless sexual adventures with his young female students. His life was well arranged, promiscuous and easy-going until, at age 62, he meets Consuela, a beautiful offspring of Cuban emigrants. Initially his desire for her is almost only bodily, almost fleshly and full of fetish obsession about her breast. But as Consuela demonstrates her freedom - he almost falls in love with her. This love reveals itself in a strange way - in his morbid jealousy for her, her friends, boyfriends and even brothers. I say "almost" because he maintains the sexual relations with his previous lover. Reading the book it is very hard to judge if Kepesh was only an animal with sexual desire to Consuela, or if he truly loved her, but was intimidated by his senescence, generation gap etc...
There is also an interesting part about father-son relations. Kepesh - the bad father, who forsook his son when he broke his marriage, has, nevertheless, an important role in boy's life.
The book ends in completely unanticipated and tragic way - shocking the readers at first. However, in the tragedy and uncertainty of the book climax lies its most important virtue - the reflection on, sometimes insecure and full of abeyance, yet true love and caring, the love that has a power to fight the death. That is my rendering of Kepesh final indecisiveness - contrary to many reviews I have read...
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Well narrated - the story gets to the heart of all the ends and outs of growing old dying and being unfaithful and self centered! I really had to get past the old man sexing to get to the message. I would not have read this if I really had known what it was about.
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I've only read/listened to a couple of Roth's books but they were both thought provoking, strange, a bit erotic, and fun. I guess more than anything else, his books make me laugh, but then sometimes, i'm not sure if i'm amused or repulsed... it's quite odd. Definitely worth listening to.
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The book is an easy listen, but has some very powerful moments. The ending takes an interesting twist. Short book. Worth the time.
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I enjoy his insight into the human way with relationships. I like the way he writes. Worth you read and time.
fast pace, steamy!
an eternal subject: old man - young woman
Roth offers some powerful moments while dissecting his protagonist's life. He keeps it short and juicy. Truly recommendable.
Still not sure how much I liked this book - it was odd - a bit hard to catch on to the story
How did the narrator detract from the book?
Narrator was actually fine. He read it well.
Any additional comments?
Horrible book. Very self-centered guy blowing his horn. Nothing even remotely likable about this guy. The ending made no sense to me.
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Fans von Philip Roth können sich freuen auf eine Wiederbegegnung mit David Kepesh, den sie bereits aus "Die Brust" und "Professor der Begierde" kennen. Alle anderen lernen in diesem kurzen Roman des amerikanischen Altmeisters, der eher eine Novelle ist, einen Literaturwissenschaftler kennen, den nach unzähligen Affären mit 65 Jahren eine erotische Obsession heimsucht -- eine junge Studentin. Erst packt ihn die Verliebtheit, dann Eifersuchtsattacken, die ihn auch noch verfolgen, als die Affäre schon längst zu Ende ist.
Nach den eher voluminösen Romanen seiner "amerikanischen Trilogie" scheint Das sterbende Tier auch inhaltlich ein eher schmalbrüstiges Werk zu sein. Aber nur auf den ersten Blick. Denn es geht um weit mehr als um die klischeehaft wirkende Affäre eines alten Mannes mit einer jungen, schönen Frau. Denn bei Roth siedelt der Eros stets in unmittelbarer Nähe zum Tod und anderen existenziellen Themen. Vor allem, wie der Prozess des Altwerdens beschrieben ist, beeindruckt.
Tom Stechschulte hat eine eher unauffällige Stimme. Aber sie passt sehr gut zu Roths Geschichte, die aus zeitlicher Distanz erzählt ist, von einem Mann, der reflektiert und auch einen faszinierenden Bogen schlägt zur sexuellen Emanzipation der Frauen und dem ewigen Konflikt zwischen Freiheit und Bindung.
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