Read Portnoy tõbi (Eesti Päevalehe romaaniklassika, #64) by Philip Roth Lauri Pilter Online


"Portnoy tõbi" on kindlasti Philip Rothi kõige tuntum ja skandaalsem raamat. See kujutab endast Alexander Portnoy pihtimust psühhoanalüütiku kušetil. Ta kirjeldab üksikasjalikult oma seksuaalseid ihasid ning noorust ülemäära võimuka ema käe all. Raamat on muutunud koomilise kirjanduse klassikaks ning Portnoy tõbe on määratletud kui haigust, kus tugevalt läbi elatud eetilis"Portnoy tõbi" on kindlasti Philip Rothi kõige tuntum ja skandaalsem raamat. See kujutab endast Alexander Portnoy pihtimust psühhoanalüütiku kušetil. Ta kirjeldab üksikasjalikult oma seksuaalseid ihasid ning noorust ülemäära võimuka ema käe all. Raamat on muutunud koomilise kirjanduse klassikaks ning Portnoy tõbe on määratletud kui haigust, kus tugevalt läbi elatud eetilised ja altruistlikud impulsid on pidevalt sõjajalal äärmuslike seksuaalsete ihadega, mis võivad vahel ka perverssustesse kalduda....

Title : Portnoy tõbi (Eesti Päevalehe romaaniklassika, #64)
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9788498199659
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 160 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Portnoy tõbi (Eesti Päevalehe romaaniklassika, #64) Reviews

  • Malbadeen
    2019-04-19 00:05

    It's recently been brought to my attention that my book reviews frequently are not actually about the book. And I'm wondering why would you want to know about the book when all you have to do is click on the little blurb about the book and then get on with the fascinating reading about...oh, say where I bought my milk last Tuesday or my fondest/most traumatic childhood memory, etc, etc.And, yet. I aim to please so here is my sincere attempt to tell you something about this book. It (the book) goes something like this:sexsexsexsexguiltguiltguiltguiltsexsexsexguiltguiltmoms faultguiltmoms faultmoms faultguilt sexsexguiltkinda dads fault toomostly moms faultguiltsexsexsexself loathingJewish loathingprotestant loathingprotestant awemore jewish loathingagain with the Protestant loathingsexsexguilt guiltguiltguiltpartial reconciliation with perceptions of all things Jewishattempt at sexfailure at sexguiltguiltguiltmom's faultNow that I've, no doubt drawn you into the plot line and compelled you to pick up the book for yourself, let me share with you some of my personal thoughts on the book.Growing up conservative/fundamentalist(?) Christian, I am no stranger to guilt. As a matter of fact some times I feel that Catholics and Jewish people think they have the market cornered on guilt, well, you know what? taint so. I got some pretty messed up voices going on in my head too, ya know. And maybe I can't articulate my guilt trips into clever phrases or pinpoint experiences but I can tell you that guilt taught me a thing or two.1. If I don't pick up that clutter someone else is going to have to. When I was younger this meant my mom, whom after setting aside her career as an artist to raise 5 kids and nearly had (maybe did have at one point) a nervous breakdown from the lack of money, the accumulation of clutter and my argumentative nature. In my adult life this means the custodian, whom after leaving Vietnam as an educated person has to toil with 2 and sometimes 3 jobs to send his son (and seemingly only hope at respectability in this career driven society of ours) to college.2. Flour is not cheap and ingredients are not to be wasted! oh, the shame, the shame of ruining yet ANOTHER batch of gingerbread men.3. pre-marital sex is BAD. BAD! BAD! BAD! Offering yourself as anything less than a virgin to your someday husband is tantamount to giving someone a big bag of steaming compost with worms crawling through it for their birthday. The only thing worse than pre-marital sex is being gay.*it might be worth noting here that there was some guilt reprieve and gargantuan amounts of titillating conversation regarding what exactly you COULD do, short of having sex but even that was fraught with the anxiety of "accidentally" having sex. and I"m still a little hazy on whether or not I can participate in oral sex. I'm assuming it's a no go, while (okay Catholics and Jewish people, I have to admit I've got it easier here) masturbating is okay AS LONG AS one doesn't start fantasizing about others while masturbating. Which you gotta hand it to them (wa-ha-ha) is that not the purest form of masturbation?4. Paper is meant to be used and re-used and re-used and re-used and re-used. Buying new paper is an intolerable opulence reserved for gluttonous pigs and ONLY gluttonous pigs. etc, etc, etc, so, did I find Portnoy's excessive guilt to be unreasonable or unreadable, not at all. I found it to be hilarious in it's familiarity. Matter of fact I found most of the book to be hilarious, which I hadn't anticipated. Some passages that I found particularly amusing are as follows:-when he ate pudding he shouldn't have, "Well, good Christ, how was I supposed to know all that, Hanna? Who looks into the fine points when he's hungry? I'm eight years old and chocolate pudding happens to get me hot.-Talking to his "doctor", "All I do is complain, the repugnance seems, bottomless, and I'm beginning to wonder if maybe enough isn't enough. I hear myself indulging in the kind of ritualized bellyaching that is just what gives psychoanalytic patients such a bad name with the general public"-a child hood sexual fantasy, "Her favorite line of prose is a masterpiece, 'Fuck my pussy, Fuckface, till I faint.' when I fart in the bathtub, she kneels naked on the tile floor, leans all the way over, and kisses the bubbles."-While observing "goys" at the skating rink, "Jesus, look how guiltlessly they eat between meals! what girls!"-about a non Jewish girlfriend, ".....played polo (yes, a games form on top of a horse!)But humor aside, I also appreciated some other aspects of the story. I loved the line, "What I'm saying, Doctor, is that I don't seem to stick my dick up these girls, as much as I stick it up their backgrounds-as though through fucking I will discover America". I remember standing alone in NYC (coming from a small town in Oregon) at age 17 and seeing the enormous variety of people and thinking how great it would be to be with the deaf man, the black man, the man in a wheel chair, the businessman, etc,etc,etc. Thinking how much I would KNOW if I could be with all of them (not simultaneously - gross! and not to worry, mom-should you come across this- I wasn't thinking sleep with them, just dates ya know, just some museums trips and a dinner here or there. okay maybe some light petting too, but really that's as far as that fantasy went). In the end I didn't broaden my horizons that way, I ended up dating one guy. One very nice Jewish boy. But still, I like the idea.And finally I'd like to say that I think I damn near cried at one point near the end and yes, I did also nearly cry this week when I saw a mud flap of that silhouetted naked lady because I so hate the "ideal" that society feels so comfortable imposing on us less than "perfect" females, and I was a little chocked up when my son said, "I like having you for a mom", and all of this near teary-ness might indicate a certain hormonal fluctuation orrrrrrrrr it might indicate that I'm a sensitive genius? consider. Regardless, I felt sorry for the pathetic schlep at one point.And thus concludes my thorough look at Portnoy's complaints plot points as well as the ubiquitous ME, ME, ME portion of my review.

  • Glenn Sumi
    2019-04-01 04:02

    21 Random Thoughts After Reading Philip Roth’s Classic Portnoy’s Complaint 46 Years After Its Controversial Publication1. I’ve read three or four Philip Roth books, but how have I never read this, which catapulted him to literary fame – or at least notoriety and celebrity – in the late 60s? Everyone's read it! Even Don Draper!2. The young Roth sure was funny. We're talking laugh out loud, text-your-best-friends-favourite-lines, nearly pee your pants funny.3. The guy was also rude and crude and…. hmmm…. okay, maybe I shouldn’t text that… um… where were we? Yes, he was rude and crude, shocking even by today’s standards.Then again…4. It’s not really Roth saying these wild things but a fictional character – namely, Alexander Portnoy, a 30-something Jewish civil liberties attorney who’s got one big fat mother complex. Incidentally, Roth was born the same year (1933) and in the same city (Newark, NJ) as his protagonist. But they're not the same guy, got it? Also:5. In a brilliant structural device, the book is essentially Alex’s extended monologue to his psychotherapist, with Alex trying to find out why he’s so screwed up. His rant includes recounting his extreme sexual fantasies and fetishes, memories of chronic childhood masturbation habits and how he feels his persistent bachelorhood (he’s in his 30s! and not married! and likes shiksas!) is tied to his ambivalent relationship with his (castrating!) mother. So, we wouldn’t want to censor or harshly judge a fictional Jewish character’s scabrous stream of consciousness, right? (Two words, folks: Leopold Bloom.)6. Oy gevalt! Fictional guilt-inducing Jewish mothers seem a lot like guilt-inducing Asian mothers.7. Back then, it must have been a really big deal to be in your 30s and unmarried.8. Just when you think “Oedipus complex,” Roth/Portnoy mentions Oedipus.9. Woody Allen, who was doing stand-up at the time, must have been influenced by this book, not just in the artist-talking-to-therapist scenes but in the Jew-goes-to-WASP-girlfriend's-home-for-Thanksgiving scene in Annie Hall.10. Even with the psychoanalyst set-up, Roth cleverly gets in stuff Portnoy wouldn’t necessarily tell his therapist, but which is richly detailed and adds to the novel’s texture. Smart.11. The infamous liver scene makes the pastry-shtupping in American Pie (surely an homage) seem tame.12. How funny is it that the book was published in 1969? 69, get it? (groan)13. In 1969 it was way more acceptable to be misogynistic and homophobic in print. Not so funny today. (different kind of groan)14. As Katie Roiphe points out in an excellent essay from In Praise of Messy Lives: Essays, today’s literary male novelists (Dave Eggers, Jonathan Franzen, Michael Chabon) sure don’t write about sex the way Roth, Updike and Mailer did when they were their age.15. There's an exuberance and a vitality to this novel that’s missing from a lot of the current literary fiction I read.16. The book’s baseball sequences, memories, what have you… I’m not even especially fond of the game, but Roth writes them with affection, tenderness and grace. And his portrait of middle-aged Jewish husband-dom is as sensitive and moving as his depiction of that era's discreet anti-Semitism is disturbing.17. Not everything works (a trip to Israel, for instance), but damn this is still a fine book.18. It was adapted into a movie starring Richard Benjamin (who also starred in his Goodbye, Columbus), and I recall seeing scenes from it late at night on TV, but it looked overdone and (checking the internet) it got really mixed reviews. So: thanks, but no thanks.19. If you do want to see a movie that captures Roth’s anarchic, self-obsessed spirit, check out Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip, which pays homage to the man in the central character, title and even the font used in the marketing.20. I’ve always been fascinated by those American bestsellers from the late 60s to early 70s by writers dealing with the fallout of the sexual revolution. Now I’m curious about John Updike’s Couples and Erica Jong’s Fear Of Flying.But mostly…21. I want to read more Philip Roth.

  • Luís C.
    2019-03-29 06:46

    The case of an American Jew torn between the perfection imposed by parents and personal freedom, touches the universal! Alexander (at least for me) is not the prototype of the living Jew in the United States, suffocated by a severely exemplary education, where the parents choose the route to follow for their son, the latter who finds this life bland and demanding, who throws herself into the most insatiable sexuality (from his childhood), he is a universal being who exists everywhere in the world: he can be Christian, Jewish, Muslim... etc, he has doubts about the belief, and the importance of this propriety and these morals, he no longer believes in the foundation of the family or marriage.And so Alexander's monologue in front of his psychiatrist (the reader rather) continues with a lot of humor and g(roth)esque. Childhood stories (a "big masturbator") and sex stories (with the Monkey in particular). Alexander hesitates to choose between life according to the expectations of his family or the free life that escapes him in the impossibility of making a choice! So he has no life, he has an image, a very pale copy of a life. In addition he develops a very pessimistic vision of marriage, a tragicomic vision!Alexander touches us, captivates us with his vision of things, he does not deny his belonging or hates his parents, but he opposes certain uses or beliefs.Roth was able to present to us the soul of an American Jew without clichés, with an excellent mastery of the character of his character, and with a humor (I would not say to the Woody Allen) full of irony (original).

  • Shovelmonkey1
    2019-04-27 05:52

    Earlier today I grossly contradicted myself by stating that I'd enjoyed all the books I'd read which were written by Philip Roth. Then I realised I'd forgotten about Portnoy's Complaint.There is a school of thought which says to write well you have to write about what you know. On that basis I know I definitely did not like this book, although that unfortunately does not guarantee that I will excel at writing about it. With that in mind Philip Roth is official King of writing about what you know and his throne is probably made from giant piles of books in which he has written about being himself or a variant thereof. This book deals with several favorite Roth topics:Being male (tick)Being Jewish (tick)Being an American Jewish Male (tick)A mild obsession with the penis (tick)Moderate biographical references throughout his works of fiction thus allowing us to see the author but never really get to know him (tick).Not fitting into any of these categories, being neither male, Jewish, American or in possession of that vital bit of equipment (penis, not brain before anyone makes jokes) this book did not win me over. A monologue of sexual repression poured forth by the eponymous Alexander Portnoy, a young man who is so tied to the apron strings of his mother that he's only managed to liberate his right hand and his libido. Given the subject matter I think that it would be better dubbed a "manologue" rather than a monologue.The highlight of the book for many (and this forms a lynch pin of many non Goodreads reviews and critiques) is Alexander Portnoy's sexual adventures with a piece of raw liver. Man meat meets cold meat in a way which might give you disturbing nightmares about visiting the deli. The misused liver is then served up to the family as part of a delicious traditional Jewish recipe later that same day. Gehakte leber anyone? And don't even ask what the special ingredient in the schmaltz and gribenes is!

  • G.R. Reader
    2019-04-25 00:56

    Portnoy's Complaint was my first husband's favorite book, and he used to quote from it all the time. When we got divorced (it wasn't amicable), my lawyer asked how I'd feel about using that fact in court. I was strongly tempted but told him after careful consideration that it was below the belt.As it turned out, my instincts were sound. The judge knew Philip Roth personally, and it would have been a disaster. I only discovered this several years later and was amazed at what a close call I'd had.

  • Daniel
    2019-04-08 00:58

    I have a vague memory that when I first read "Portnoy's Complaint" as a teenager -- I was probably 16 or 17 at the time -- I either carried my paperback copy with me to my grandmother's condo, or perhaps just mentioned to her that I was reading the book. What a mistake. She was displeased with my choice in reading material, and wasn't shy about letting me know. This was many years before Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize, making him somewhat more respectable to the American Jewish community. To be frank, though, even if he had already won the Pulitzer at that time, Grammy likely still would have seen "Portnoy's Complaint," and probably anything else by Roth, as a shanda fur die goyim and best avoided by her grandson. As an already somewhat lapsed Jew at the time, though, I found the novel hilarious, shocking and frighteningly accurate, if a bit exaggerated.At more than double the age I was then, I decided to revisit "Portnoy's Complaint" for the first time, partly because I want to see if it's held up for me after all these years, and partly to see how it compares to the handful of other Roth novels I've read in recent years, including "The Anatomy Lesson" and "The Plot Against America." So what did I find? As an older and now completely lapsed Jew, I found "Portnoy's Complaint" hilarious, shocking and frighteningly accurate, if a bit exaggerated. It also stands heads and shoulders above the other Roth novels I've read. As far as I can tell, there's "Portnoy's Complaint," and then there's everything else he's written.I won't bother saying much about the book's content here because either you've already read it don't need to be told about it, or you should read the book, and I don't want to ruin it for you by recounting the best parts. (Frankly, the whole book's great, and singling out the best parts would be a pretty daunting task.) But I do have one caveat: I'm not sure how well this book would resonate with anyone who didn't grow up as a male in a Jewish family in America. I'm not saying other people shouldn't read this book -- they should -- but I am saying that much of both its comedy and its meaningfulness likely will be lost on all readers who aren't male American Jews. As just one small example, only such a reader could truly appreciate the brilliance of a suicide note, from a son to his mother, mentioned in passing:Mrs. Blumenthal called. Please bring your mah-jongg rules to the game tonight. Ronald"Portnoy's Complain" is chock-full of profanity (including judicious use of the dreaded c-word), sexual depravity (and not just the famous meat scene), and ethnic stereotypes (including a hilarious depiction of the home life of WASPs). I've seen some people criticize this book for being too much of a comedy, too prone to Borscht Belt-style humor. Well, yes, but so what? The book is intended as a comedy, and the entire novel even ends with a punchline -- and not just any punchline, but a punchline that wouldn't be out of place on a Catskills stage.Anyhow, there's no need for me to say much more about "Portnoy's Complaint." Plus, I have an easier time writing lengthy reviews of books I hate than ones I love wholeheartedly. Much like Alexander Portnoy, I'm not very good at being positive and upbeat. I'm just glad that the book held up as well as it did for me after all these years. Sorry, Grammy.

  • Robin
    2019-04-02 01:47

    The title is apt for this book, because the entire thing is a complaint, made by Alexander Portnoy to his shrink. Oh, boy.Initially I put this on my TBR list because Joe Goldberg, the well-read psychopath in Caroline Kepnes' You and Hidden Bodies lists it as his favourite book. A bit of a twisted road to get to Philip Roth's infamous, sexually explicit work that caused a big splash when published in 1969.While cleverly written and quite funny in some parts, the rant-like nature of this book got a little tired after a while, and soon it was apparent that the story arc wasn't going anywhere interesting for me.Portnoy complains mainly about his overbearing Jewish parents (particularly his mother - can you say Oedipus Complex?), his Jewishness, his attraction to shikses, and his inability to pick a nice girl and have a normal relationship. And round and round we go. There are some pretty over the top scenes which depict him wildly masturbating (to successful fruition) while his mother screams from the other side of the door.This was my introduction to Philip Roth. Yup. And, I'm still willing and interested in reading more. Now, what does that say about me, Doctor?

  • Jr Bacdayan
    2019-04-21 23:10

    Hey, Roth! What’s with the smug smile on that face of yours? What’s with that satisfied look? You think you’re now a goy or something? Are you thinking of a shikse or something? Are you high? You think just because you wrote a bunch of anti-semitic, auto-erotic stuff you’re some bigshot? What’s the sense with that piece of crap? Don’t you dare turn your back on me you balding Kike! You wanker! You kosher prick! You… oh, where’s the sense in this? Come on, mate. Is this really just to ridicule society? What’s the gist, the point, the essence? To say things which nobody has said before? Is it just anger, contempt? Sure, I get the whole defy the boundaries of society thing, to be rid of the cultural standards and stuff. Freedom from the restrictive paradigm! I get it, I do. Fuck society. Fuck culture, marriage, family, democracy, capitalism, sexual-restraint. Fuck them all! But is it just that? Why go through all the girlfriends? I bet that’s boasting there, Philip. Just because you had cunt doesn’t mean we wanna hear about it. All you did was give me a boner in some parts. That wasn’t a very nice thing to do given all the whining coming with it. You’re an asshole, Roth! You’re worse. You’re thinking of doing perverse stuff to your own Mother! That’s going beyond the oedipal tendencies, bud. Are you suggesting that we should practice incest because fuck the society? Incest because fuck the law? You motherfucker! That’s gross, man. Is that the point? What about all that wanking? Is is just to make me wanna wank myself? Well, you succeeded mate. I may have wanked somewhere in between reading your book. Satisfied, Roth? You corrupted a youth. If someone catches me doing the deed, Imma tell them I learned it from the venerated Philip Roth. But I’m telling you, you didn’t succeed with that whole incest thing. You stay out of my family! And really the liver? You thought up that it should be fed to a family? I bet you did that in real life. What is this semi-autobiographical? Because I’m telling ya, some things here were a little too graphic to be made up. Come on, bud. Say it. I did all this when I was younger. There’s a good boy. So you just wanted to share life experiences, eh? No? Then what is it? Ah, I think I’ve got it. Now, Phil. Mind if I call you Phil? So is this really just another Catcher in the Rye, except you know, you have crazy substituting the teenage angst here. Is it really just I’m too good for you stuff? Just another anarchy dude, another all that “my life, my rules” crap. The world’s your oyster kid. Joke’s on you, it’s not. What’s with all the sexual stuff? To prove that sex is a natural instinct and shouldn’t be so shameful? Sure, that’s pretty good. But is that all? Defy life, sex is normal. Is that it? Bullshit, Phil! You may be a chronic-wanker, but you’re not stupid enough to write a book about this stuff. This is all movie crap. This is the bread and butter of scriptwriters, not novelists. You’ve got more pride than that. You’ve won a Pulitzer for cryin out loud! Why write this? What are you trying to tell me? Why all the babble! Are you a Nazi? Are you trying to justify the holocaust? What is with this book? Is it to make me be a better man? Is it supposed to show the inadequacies of my complaints, the shallowness of it all? Are you using reverse psychology?! It won’t work, boyo. We gentiles are a smarter breed than you give us credit for. You cunt! You sexist, racist, homophobic son of a woman. Are you trying to show us the thoughts of the superior Caucasian man? Hehe! Now I’m the racist one. Sorry, Phil. Didn’t mean to hurt ya there. But I’m still stumped here. What’s the big picture? What’s it saying to me? Libido is libertarian? I guess I can work with that. Hahaha! Wait, humor won’t work here, Phil. You wrote and book and I read it. You have to answer me here. No, you don’t have the right to remain silent. No, you can’t invoke your right to self-incrimination. Say it! Open up! Spill the beans! Let the cat out of the bag! Try to see the big picture, you say? Ah! I see! It’s in the punch-line! What, no comment? So it’s about the doctor. I get it now, sonny. You thought that you freed yourself from the chains of society. You broke everything, you howled! You didn’t give a crap about anything. Heck, you even tore the tag off the mattress! But really, you weren’t freed. The fact that you were talking to a shrink proved that you thought something was wrong with you. You say you didn’t give a shit, but you put yourself under observation. You say you lived big, but you confined yourself with a mental-health professional. You were under invisible chains, your freedom was an illusion. Why the silence now, Phil? Say something. What? I’m confusing you with Portnoy? But you wrote it, mate. Doesn’t that sort of identify you with the protagonist? What? I’m an asshole? Alright, whatever. You’re the man. I’m just saying, freedom from societal-norms is an illusion. Sometimes, all we can do is complain. Am I right, Phil?

  • Lubinka Dimitrova
    2019-04-05 02:14

    Although I definitely enjoyed it more than Bukowski's Women, I've come to realise that books about middle-aged male Americans who spend their time navel-gazing and contemplating their relationship with their penis is probably not my cup of tea. The book was fun, but I strongly suspect that if it weren't for the narrator, I might have never finished it. Ron Silver is a brilliant reader, I doubt that I would have enjoyed the story more even if Roth himself was whispering it in my ear.

  • Mariel
    2019-04-24 05:01

    I would have walked away in the conversation at the point of Portnoy proclaiming that he slept with the women that he did (anyone who would have him) as a way of conquering America. Essentially those who would not have him like historically against Jewish peoples (dude, you work for the mayor and are educated! You do what you want!). I am not Jewish and I wasn't alive in the '60s. Somewhere anyone is going to feel like that they don't belong. What I really liked about Portnoy's Complaint is the not fitting in the anyone should feel that way. You don't have to feel like you owe your family. How someone else feels about you is a lot about them. A lot of talking oneself into it doesn't hurt, I won't regret it later, what is the right thing to do. Sex as sex, not the whole damned future. You can live for the now and then still regret the past when the next now comes up. Or be afraid you are going to regret it. That can be anxiety inducing enough on its own. (If the book had been written a couple of decades later there would be worse things than disappointing your parents with no grandchildren.) The good thing about this book is that it is not easy to say for sure and pin Alexander Portnoy to one thing. Oh yeah, he felt sorry for himself, hemmed in and restrained. Unsatisfied always. He succumbed to worrying about what he should feel as much anyone else. He did believe that he was better than the Monkey (I liked the Monkey. If she became "clingy" and hoped for a new life outta Portnoy... Well, he might be her some day. Left alone out of years of pleasing only himself. Monkey chose her sexual freedom and later discovered the tragedy of shame. I wish she didn't have to feel shame! She could have been him before when younger. It's not fair thirty for her was old. He was 33!). The conquering getting back at them bullshit was boring and backtracking on the good stuff. The freedom with a price came to a conversational death by boring and big fat lie. It doesn't mean there wasn't anything else in there. I was just bored when it became about BEING Jewish instead of being any man. Besides, it doesn't feel like the truth! If you are going to be your own person, what does being Jewish have to do with the picture? Especially since you aren't religious, Portnoy? It was too good before. Me against them instead of Me I wish it didn't have to be against anyone. Sighs That would be soemthing that would mean something to me (wishing) instead of a funny story about a guy who can talk circles around what he really wants. He did talk circles. I liked how he slipped up and was confused about his omnipresent mama, to side with dad or not (were they the same or not?), his sensible and taken for granted sister. The possibility of shame and dirty by what is alone. Aha! Is it not alone to group in with a label? I don't think so...P.s. I can't find on youtube the scene on The Simpsons when Krusty the Clown pretends to have diarhea to practice his comedy routines in the bathroom. Portnoy homage! I remember the scene but I didn't get the reference when I'd seen it. :(

  • Evan
    2019-04-18 04:51

    I'm in the mood for this now and it's reading like a breeze. God, it's probably shameful to admit that I AM PORTNOY, but it would be just like me to say that very thing and mirror the guilt of the guy in the book. You wish your parents could read this, especially my neat freak, worrywart mom. I think a lot of Catholic households and Jewish households are not a lot different. This shit is funny and real and insightful. If the rest of the book is as good as the first 50 pages then we shall be quite pleased.(Yes. I'm reading the old yellow paperback edition. $1 from Half Price.)Getting close to a third of the way in...What is it Dali said: "Stop stealing my dreams?" I say to Roth: "You've stolen my life, the angst in my head." I'm sort of in a mindmeld with this book. The conflicting feelings over one's parents, the tugs of opposing impulses: to respect and abhor, to compromise and rebel. This book is making me appreciate the efforts of my own mother more, whereas lately I've been inclined to overemphasize her faults; the deficiencies passed from her to me. Many lovely ruminations, not just masturbation... Reading transfixed.I'm officially in awe of Roth, and the achievement of this book. Just surpassed the two-third mark in the evening after beginning this yesterday evening. The conflicts between outward respectability and inner desires; the baggage of youth; the rebellion against morality and tradition; the inner conflict (stated ostensibly as a therapy session); the anxiety and humiliation -- the insecurity of being the outsider, and of fighting against your own minority status; the grotesque beauty and brutality; the longing, the confusion, the pettiness, and the self-awareness thereof; the conflict of living two sets of values... This ALL SPEAKS to me. Roth is so focused, yet so diffuse. Every word of this is wise and sad and raw and real. This is referred to as a comic novel, but while there are laughs there's much more poignancy, for me. I just dig the shit out of this book. I mean, so much so that it might now be my favorite novel ever. But let's not get too hasty. Still going...OK, well, this had everything for me. EVERYTHING! (and a lot of exclamation points just like that one). This is now, officially, my favorite book.

  • MJ Nicholls
    2019-03-27 00:58

    The definitive self-hating Jew novel. A searing literary stand-up performance par excellence. Woody Allen meets Bill Hicks. Explains where the famous inbuilt neurosis in New York Jews comes from. A brutal, universal portrayal of family life. The funniest thing I have read in a long long time. Every young man in his twenties tries at some point to write this novel and fails. Wonderful. Not a work of remarkable human insight and depth, but this is Philip Roth: the psychopathology of sleaze, if you please. (And, in case you’d forgotten the author’s surname, Vintage have clearly printed it on the cover in large letters. ROTH. Thanks Vintage!)

  • Yulia
    2019-04-14 00:08

    It's a miracle: I've finished this thing, this book. I thought to read the end as a commenter noted it was a shaggy dog story, which made me wonder what the punch-line was, but as I read about this woman he called "the monkey," I became so furious in how he wrote of her with such hatred that I had to know more about their relationship, which took me back another section, and then another, till I'd finally been led to read the entire dang book. And while I was sure I'd write something hateful about Roth after first learning of his attitude towards the Monkey, leading me to foam at the mouth in outrage and plan to write up a summation of the evidence proving Portnoy's homosexuality, I've since not changed my mind about Portnoy, but come to see some humor in some of the events he relates, and so I can say it was worth reading this book if only for the passages on the perfect child and pianist Ronald Nimkin (p. 96), for which I give Roth kudos by enabling me to laugh about a suicide of all tragedies, and for the passage in which the Monkey accuses Portnoy of making her a lesbian by their fulfilling their mutual fantasy of sleeping with another woman. And so for these two wonderful moments, I give Portnoy two stars. But then, I disagree that all this had to offer was a shaggy dog ending. As a shaggy dog story, this was a rather lame one. Really, what I would have loved would be to have it be told from the Monkey's perspective. She is the true star of this tale. She is the one whose adventures and neuroses I want to follow. But I could never expect Roth to pull this off successfully considering his great antipathy for womankind. ****************************************************************(done at page 64) OK, I'm sick of Portnoy. I don't care about his testicles, I don't care where and how he masturbates, I don't care whom he thinks of to get off, I don't care that he doesn't believe in god, I don't care what will happen to his nagging mother, weak father, and pleading sister. I don't wish them ill: I simply don't care about them. May they rest in peace. Don't worry, I own the book. Maybe one day when I'm absolutely desperate to consider Roth's endless merits, I'll pick up where I left off and annoy myself some more.

  • Mish
    2019-04-04 05:58

    Portnoy’s Complaint was on my radar when I watched my first episode of the ABC The Book Club. The book was Marieke Hardy pick of a classic and it received such high praise by the whole panel, describing it as funny, awkward, rude and a work of a genius.Portnoy’s Complaint is a one sided conversation between Alex Portnoy and his psychoanalyst, of growing up in a Jewish household with loud, workaholic and overprotective parents, his sexual awakening, his career and his failure to commit to a lasting relationship.I do agree with the panel, it was hilarious in some parts. I laughed so hard hearing Alex reminisce of the time when he was a teen living at home. His father’s battle with constipation. And Alex trying to find a discreet place to release his sexual urges, without his smothering mother knocking on the bathroom wanting to know why Alex is taking so long. The excuses that he came up with and the whole drama surrounding these episodes were just hilarious. His parents were delightfully over the top. They remind me of George and Jerry’s parents from Seinfeld.In my opinion, Alex’s complaints as a young boy of his parent’s behaviour were worthy of a complaint. They were tremendously suffocating, living at home with them and under their guarded eye, I could totally understand Alex’s frustration for space and independence. But his complaints carried into his adult life that eventually he started to sound like a whinger. So many times I felt like telling him to just suck it up, grow up and stop acting like a baby. All up, it was a promising start but lost it’s spark about half way through.

  • Julie
    2019-04-24 02:14

    Thirty years after Roth wrote Portnoy's Complaint he won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. The reason is. . . he knows how to write. He writes with a boldness and bravado I favor. However, this is not a book for just anyone! If my grandmother had cracked open the cover, I assure you, the paramedics would have found her dead from a stroke or heart-attack, the book still open on her chest. Portnoy's Complaint has, within its almost 300 pages, more vulgarity and profanity than any other book I've ever read. If I see my son reading this before the age of 30, I will physically remove it from his hands. And, I assure you, no mother is giving this book to her son (at any age!!). Nonetheless, if you like good writing and have a great sense of humor, you might really enjoy this read.

  • Giuseppe
    2019-03-31 06:11

    Roth sei tutti noi (me)Un lungo monologo di un giovane ebreo newyorchese, alla fine degli sessanta, steso su un lettino di un psicoanalista mentre si lamenta della scombinatezza della propria vita dominata dalle figure genitoriali e da una totale anaffetività che si sublima in una bramosia sessuale infinita. Di questo parla Lamento di Portnoy.Se avete la (s)fortuna di provenire da una società tradizionalista, con una forte impronta familistica, se avete la (s)fortuna di avere avuto dei genitori apprensivi, una madre affettuosa ma soffocante ed autoritaria, se avete la (s)fortuna di essere un uomo in tale società, se da voi ci si aspetta tanto (troppo), ebbene non vi servirà molto per capire questo libro e quello che dice.Da bravo meridionale emigrato soddisfo molte delle condizioni suddette. Così non ho fatto alcuna fatica a immedesimarmi nel libro e rivedermi nella figura di Alexander Portnoy (ad onor del vero ci rivedo più mio fratello maggiore, mi ha salvato l'essere terzogenito: sono cresciuto più capafrésca avendo subito meno attenzioni, quindi con meno interesse intorno e meno aspettative). Dalle figure genitoriali, alla rivalsa sessuale (la mappa mentale degli USA da colonizzare stato per stato non è troppo dissimile da quella dell'Europa che avevo in mente nei primi del 2000), passando per il disagio delle proprie origini che si converte in motivo di superiorità in un ambiente esterno (studiatevi la categoria dei terroni fuggiaschi per capire cosa intendo), il malcelato amore per la propria cucina, l'affermazione non economica ma sociale in un ruolo "giusto" e tanto tanto altro. Insomma tante, troppe cose durante la lettura mi sembravano affini o addirittura autobiografiche, tanto da chiedermi se non fossi la reincarnazione di almeno una parte dell'anima di Roth (per me il romanzo è autobiografico, ci scommetto quello che volete) posto che è ancora in vita.Certo i distinguo non mancano. Mio padre non è stitico, né mia madre è così melodrammatica (anche se certe frasi sono in ciclostilato), e nessuno dei due può essere considerato ignorante, anzi. Né ho l'anafettività nei rapporti di coppia di Portnoy. Né tuttavia le mie origini possono essere ricondotte a popolazioni dalla leggendaria intelligenza (vi assicuro però che non sono tonto). Però, devo ammettere, nonostante Portnoy sia un po' stronzo, ipocrita, egoista non riesco proprio a non avere un moto di simpatia nei suoi confronti.E alla fine il messaggio di Roth è chiaro, usando l'espediente psicanalitico: dalle tue origini non ti ci stacchi, che l'imprinting è qualcosa che ti porti dietro per tutta la vita e con cui ci devi convivere dovunque tu sia. Ma che non puoi nemmeno risolvere i tuoi conflitti tornando al punto di partenza, essendo questo diventato altro da te.

  • Marcello S
    2019-04-19 07:10

    Zeno Cosini in acido.Dissacrante, ossessivo, complesso.Chissà come dev’essere stato leggerlo nel ’69.Oggi è di certo meno sconvolgente sentir parlare di sesso, famiglia e tradizioni ebraiche in maniera così radicale.Qua e là c’è qualche momento meno godibile o non del tutto riuscito.A tratti lo segui a stento nei suoi voli pindarici. Tutto il resto è decisamente notevole. [75/100]

  • Silvia Sirea
    2019-03-27 03:59

    Ho chiuso le letture del duemilasedici con questo libro e non potrei essere più soddisfatta di così. Niente da fare: tutto ciò che scrive quest'uomo è pura letteratura - o almeno è questa la sensazione che ho avuto ogni volta che ho terminato la lettura di una sua opera.Le 220 pagine di Lamento di Portnoy sono lo sfogo, sotto forma di soliloquio, di un giovane uomo che inveisce contro le convinzioni che la religione radica in una società - in questo caso si tratta di quella ebraica, ma il concetto può essere esteso a tutte le altre - e le conseguenze che esse hanno sulla vita di un bambino, poi adolescente, poi uomo. Alexander Portnoy, sul lettino del suo analista, dà libero sfogo a tutto ciò che gli passa per la mente e le sue elucubrazioni, che prendono vita dai ricordi e dai più disparati aneddoti servendosi di salti temporali da far impallidire i più impavidi lettori, sono in totale armonia tra loro. Ecco la peculiarità di Roth: ogni suo romanzo è un'architettura, ogni incastro è lì dove deve stare e la sensazione che dona la lettura di una sua opera è comparabile ad un orgasmo della letteratura. A proposito di orgasmo: il sesso è l'ossessione di Alexander Portnoy, croce e delizia della sua esistenza. La figura della madre è onnipresente: una madre ebrea che ha un qualcosa di vagamente tirannico della quale lui cerca di liberarsi. E poi c'è il padre, afflitto da stitichezza cronica, succube della moglie. In questo lamento lungo un libro, Alex se la prende soprattutto con la religione ebraica che ha tentato di plasmarlo e forse un po' ci è riuscita, in fondo, perché tutto ciò che vuole è scrollarsi di dosso certe idee che si porta dentro fin da bambino. E questo sfogo tumultuoso trascina il lettore in momenti di pura ilarità che divertono e rendono la lettura un'esperienza fuori del comune, come solo Roth sa fare."Dottor Spielvogel, non è per niente un sollievo abbandonarsi al biasimo - il biasimo è di per sé sofferenza, ovviamente - nondimeno, cosa avevano questi genitori ebrei, cosa, da riuscire a convincere noialtri ragazzini ebrei di essere da una parte principi, rari come gli unicorni, geniali, brillanti e belli come mai nessuno nella storia dell'infanzia... redentori e perfezione assoluta da una parte, e dall'altra molesti, incompetenti, scriteriati, imbelli, egoisti, perfidi stronzetti ingrati!"

  • Julie Ehlers
    2019-04-09 05:52

    A round of applause for Portnoy’s Complaint. I can only imagine how daring and groundbreaking this book must have felt when it was first released in the late 1960s. An entire novel written as a rant to the narrator’s psychoanalyst! Imagine! And what’s more, the book manages to keep up its energy and momentum all the way through—it’s entertaining and funny, and insightful in the way only something truly groundbreaking can be. Honestly, despite all the responses and imitations this book no doubt engendered, I think Portnoy’s Complaint will always be in a category all its own, and I mean that in a good way.Really too bad about all the misogyny. My appreciation was somewhat tempered by the fact that this book was clearly written under the impression that women just aren’t really people in the same way men are. (There was definitely racism and homophobia too, but the misogyny was especially pervasive.) On the plus side, it really made it clear how far we’ve come since then. Bless all the women writers who’ve found their voices since the publication of Portnoy’s Complaint—knowing they’re all out there made it possible for me to enjoy this book without succumbing to the rage it could have easily engendered otherwise. Sincere congratulations, Portnoy’s Complaint, for being so daring so many years ago and such an amusing relic now. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all good.

  • Cosimo
    2019-04-22 04:57

    Non è un problema mio“Con una vita come la mia, Dottore, mi vuol dire a cosa mi servono i sogni?”Che cosa mi definisce come essere umano, in prima istanza? La voglia di vivere e di essere libero, sembra affermare Alexander Portnoy, aspirazione che si esprime prevalentemente nell'ambiente creato dal dialogo tra caratteristiche sociali e familiari e desideri e qualità individuali: in questo caso, sessualità, ebraismo, società borghese e intellettualismo. E così la scrittura, sotto forma di monologo psicoanalitico, diventa un flusso che è metafora della vita, dell'atto sessuale come liberazione di energia, dell'affermazione professionale come prova della potenza virile, del sarcasmo verso l'altro e del solipsismo come difesa da narcisismo e disprezzo di sé. “Che cosa è avvenuto del buon senso che avevo a nove, dieci, undici anni? Come ho fatto a diventare un tale nemico e fustigatore di me stesso? E così solo! Oh, così solo! Nient'altro che il sé! Rinchiuso in me stesso! Quali sono le parole che sceglie Portnoy per salvarsi da questo isolamento forzato, quale teatro inscena per rappresentare la sua emancipazione dalla schiavitù dell'impotenza? Meshuggener inguaribile, uomo di successo e di cultura, ha in mente il solo obiettivo di vivere alla grande e inseguire, tra baseball e erotismo, ogni shikse che gli introduca le sue grazie e accolga la sua insaziabile fame di femmina, in una fantasmagoria della fica, la passera, dove la donna è soggetto di fantasie, il corpo femminile oggetto di amore e odio, venerazione e maledizione, dipendenza e estasi: Portnoy è un essere in balia di libido e pulsioni, tutte dirette alla femminilità, al sesso femminile, in una mitologia orgiastica dove lo shlong, il putz, l'organo maschile, è mediatore e totem di un incontro che si fa parodia linguistica della psicologia freudiana e del dispotismo della tradizione tout court. Tra farsa e tragedia edipica, Portnoy si rivela a seconda dei momenti infante sperduto con la nostalgia della madre che lo minaccia di evirazione con il coltello di cucina, giovane maschio che vede l'erezione come stato di divina prigionia e diviene soggetto di necessaria educazione all'onanismo sfrenato, uomo adulto virile e dominante che innalza contro la repressione puritana l'idolo del proibito, scelta negativa che conduce a una morale pansessuale e edonistica. Nella sua cronica insoddisfazione, nei suoi insuccessi iterati, Portnoy pensa se stesso come un mentecatto con una sofferenza significante e dignitosa, un ebreo infelice che disprezza se stesso, dove l'esagerazione viene eletta a stile esistenziale. Ogni confine è pregiudizio, la vita è desiderio illimitato, la relazione un dispiegamento narcisistico: la scrittura è luogo dove può prendere forma un rovesciamento anarchico del reale, evitando la negazione e superando nella dissolutezza la paura di crescere in un delirio dionisiaco connotato da oralità dissacrante e invettiva al turpiloquio. “Il succo del mio ragionamento, Dottore, è che non mi par tanto di ficcare il mio uccello in queste ragazze, quanto di ficcarlo nei loro ambienti sociali... come se scopando volessi scoprire l'America. Conquistare l'America, è forse più corretto”. Il piacere dei sensi è antidoto al soffocare angoscioso del quotidiano e l'irripetibilità dell'esperienza sessuale acquisisce una funzione liberatoria e rituale, nel trionfo di una ironia antivitalistica. Il Lamento di Portnoy è un romanzo confessione pieno di comicità viscerale, con un eroe americano ibrido e privo di certezze, irregolare e asociale anche nel successo, in un racconto satirico che è più complesso e versatile di come appaia; genera il riso e la catarsi, tratta di colpa e trasgressione, risolve su differenti piani il conflitto tra coscienza e istinto, suggerendo nell'impossibile e disastrosa ricerca dell'altro l'esistere di un valore vitale e doloroso che può restituire almeno parzialmente il senso della propria pienezza. Nello scandalo appassionato e nell'intenso pathos, un curioso e mai rassegnato interrogare.“Dottore, forse altri suoi pazienti sognano – ma io, guardi, a me le cose succedono per davvero, tutte. Io ho una vita priva di contenuto latente. A me i sogni mi succedono! Dottore, non m'è riuscito di rizzarlo nello Stato di Israele! Beh, che gliene pare di questo come simbolismo, bubi? Mi indichi Lei qualcuno che sa fare di meglio, eh? Uno che non riesce a mantenere una erezione nella terra Promessa!”

  • Tristan
    2019-04-14 03:51

    So this - or so I'm informed - is where the archetype of the self-hating, sexually repressed, neurotic Jew originated. Hmm. A funny confessional book (absolutely crammed with that glorious Yiddish), Portnoy's Complaint certainly is historically significant for its rambunctious iconoclasm, although I doubt -apart from its at the time largely unspoken observations of the restrictions and expectations Jewish identity brings with it - it will have much staying power compared with others of its "genre" in the future. Portnoy never solidifying himself in my eyes as a particularly memorable character also didn't exactly help in this area. I feel I have delved in the mindscape of that kind of character countless of times. Perhaps at the time of publication (1969, genious marketing decision eh?) he was something fresh. Not so much now. 45 years of popular culture have seen to that.It's probably rather clear by now I didn't really connect with this, although I recognize it is well-written and structurally sound. My theory is that this is a clear case of familiarity breeding (oh so subtle, but unignorable) contempt. After all, the unending expounding on -in certain circles risqué -sexual indulgences has been a rich subject ever since Henry Miller did it - with guns blazing, sort of speak - in the 1930s, laying the groundwork for everyone else after that. I've read my fair share of all that in my twenties. Needless to say, by now I am beset by a weariness of the subject altogether. There is no great insight to be gained from it anymore. Yes, human sexuality can be aberrant, disgusting and messy, and I'm sure one can explicate its coarse mechanisms in excruciating detail. Can we move on now? Frankly, it's become tedious. Sexually explicit language (while it can elicit great hilarity if used appropiately) just has lost its power to shock or impress. For me personally, my taste has evolved towards barely noticed innuendo and symbolism, so there is not much in it for me anymore. That's what's called "maturing", I guess.Talking about age and its vicissitudes, I am rather surprised this came out when Roth was already 36, since it very much feels like a book a twenty something year old - admittedly a highly intelligent one - would write. Pretty reasonable to assume Woody Allen attentively perused it and viewed it as a template for some of his own work, as well. He definitely mined its contents for all it was worth. So thank you, Mr. Roth, good Sir! You were -at least partly - the impetus for some terrific cinematic concoctions. Okay, that's enough of my kvetching for now. Do excuse me. I feel the irresistible urge to put on 'Annie Hall' for the umpteenth time.

  • Adriana
    2019-04-09 04:03

    Cartea asta e atât de viscerală, încât nu-mi vine să cred că nu e autobiografică, cel puţin partea care se referă la familie, originile evreieşti şi toate neajunsurile care derivă din asta. Pentru că, dacă e să-l credem pe autor, e naşpa rău să fii evreu în SUA, şi de aici s-au născut multe-multe pagini furibunde în care personajul principal îşi spune, îşi strigă, ÎŞI URLĂ frustrările.Cât despre viaţa sexuală a aceluiaşi personaj, mi-a stârnit hohote de râs (cine naiba s-ar gândi să facă sex cu o bucată crudă de ficat?), groază şi milă. Milă pentru că avem de-a face cu un om profund nefericit şi chinuit care, deşi îşi doreşte o familie şi copii, rămâne prins în menghina dorinţelor sexuale imposibil de satisfăcut. Pe scurt: oy, oy, oy, Portnoy...P.S. Cu ruşine mărturisesc că n-am înţeles poanta finală. Mă ajută cineva?

  • Kat
    2019-03-30 03:13

    Upon finishing this book, I heard myself say aloud (without warning): "that sucked."There's a lot to recommend Roth as a writer and I think he's fully in control of what he's doing I just wish he were doing something else blah blah. This book is a 300-page monologue by a character who annoyed the crap out of me. Whatever fabulous edgy points Roth might have been making about the self-aggrandizement and self-congratulatory pseudolessons of psychotherapy, whatever incisive criticisms he may have been making about Jewish-American culture's ability to induce neurosisblah , whatever legitimately funny jokes he may have laced in,Roth, I just don't care. You buried it in 300 pages of narration swollen with pointless rants. I know the pointlessness was the point. I'm just saying, you could have written a short story.

  • david
    2019-04-16 07:04

    My takeaway from this novel? 'You never know when you will need a tissue.'

  • Jason Pettus
    2019-04-01 23:48

    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)Regular readers will remember that I'm in the middle of a long-term literary project right now, to read all eleven novels making up Philip Roth's autobiographical "Zuckerman cycle" in order to better understand the Postmodernist Era they discuss, from its start (right around Kennedy's assassination) to its end (9/11); but since so many of at least the early novels in the series concern themselves so directly with Roth's first big mainstream hit, 1969's filthy and funny Portnoy's Complaint, I thought it would be instructive to read that as well, to better understand the way that Roth's life changed because of it. For those who don't know, after an early start as a traditional, academic-style Late Modernist writer who was getting published in The New Yorker in the early '60s, this hilarious look at the sexual dysfunctions inherent in the New York Jewish lifestyle, and its inherent clashes against the prevailing "let it all hang out" countercultural mood, was exactly what mainstream America needed at the exact moment they needed it, just like Woody Allen was providing in cinemas at the same time; and so not only was it a hit with the usual intellectual crowd, but it broke through to become a massive general hit, an eventual Hollywood film, and even a tittering codeword among the culture at large, right at the same time that his fellow young New Yorker author John Updike was doing the same thing with his saucy novel Couples (the very first mainstream book to discuss the topic of suburban wife-swapping, after obscenity laws in the US getting relaxed just a few years earlier).And to be fair, this is still a dirty, dirty book, with it easy to understand why merely carrying a copy around back then was enough to signal to anyone else that you could "dig it," which much like Woody Allen takes the image of the nebbish, self-deprecatory Jewish city boy and almost accidentally turns it into a new type of nerdy sex symbol, as we follow poor Portnoy's adventures as first an onanistic teen and then a goy-obsessed young man, flailing about in the high-minded hippie atmosphere around him but still managing to have crazy sex on a regular basis anyway. And it's easy to see why so many older Jews got so upset by this book too; because not only does it lay out a lot of the quiet little dysfunctional moments of the Jewish community to a large Christian audience, a direct predecessor to Seinfeld that I've discussed in more depth in my Zuckerman write-ups, but indeed a lot of its humor derives explicitly from all the neurotic hangups that were created among Roth's generation by all their uptight, obsessed-with-appearances, Holocaust-surviving parents, making it not just a funny sex comedy but an astute look at the first generation of Jews to grow up after World War Two, and the clashes that occurred when they first came of age in the countercultural '60s, which I'm sure made it even more of a must-read among the young hipsters of the time. A great, moving, blush-inducing novel that still holds up really well to this day, read it to understand what was getting your parents all squirmy in the years that they were having you.

  • Matt
    2019-04-25 03:15

    Funniest book I have ever read. Bar none. I never, NEVER laugh out loud while reading and I was literally howling several times as I read this. It's so awful and so true. Teenage sexual obsession/repression (isn't it funny how the two go together) and religious guilt/ political guilt (ditto) have been linked before, but never as desperately, bitterly funny as this.I always used to wonder why "realistic" novels about adolescence don't talk about masterbation. I mean everybody does it, right? And besides, it plays a pretty key role in every young person's life, moving into adulthood and beyond.Is it telling in some way that jacking off must be presented exaggeratedly, comedically, in the midst of a ridiculous rant about repression and Jewish guilt? I mean, they banned Ulysses for this very reason, in part.It's also wonderfully written, every aspect of Alexander Portnoy is given due place, his wit and his anger and his confusion and- most importantly- his apocalyptic self-consciousness, with a manic self-referential humor just propelling the damn thing forward.Also, I'd like to point out that I am, in fact, unbearably goyish, from the Mass suburbs, raised fundie Christian, am genetically a WASP, and...get ready...a MAYFLOWER fucking DESCENDENT (!) and I related to this book in discreet, rather shocking ways that I never thought a book would or could suggest. I didn't hump any cold cuts, just so we're clear, but still...Ironically, I am actually an interesting example of the ironies in acclaiming the universality of art. Which I do, all the time, whether it's academically hip or not.See, the universality thing is usually about cultural distance from the writer or the subject matter. I mean, I've never been to Russia, let alone have any of the same religious inclinations, but Tolstoy (for a random example) really does speak to me, about my life and my personal interests and issues and conflicts, etc. It's the old canard, you think you're alone but then you read...Ok so the funny part, for me as it would be for Portnoy (and probably Roth too) is that poor Portnoy is obsessed with the ethnic and cultural details that make him *other* from the mainstream, of his time and place at least, and how certain aspects of his cultural inheritance are fucking him up, particularly when it comes to his sex life. It's hard out here for a heeb with a hard-on. And, of course, it's especially a big deal for him to want to bang shiksas- the forbidden fruit, the sexy goyim, the all-too-sweet, All-American pussy his neurotic ass covets above all else.It's not just about wanting to relieve his teenage lust it's also rather political, isn't it? It's about sticking it where it don't belong, fantasizing about getting his stone tablets off on the most wholesomely looking type possible, because it's funnier and dirtier and freakier and more liberating that way. Arguably, at least.Ok well what's funny to me is that, dear reader, I am in fact the physical manifestation of the kind of All-American look Portnoy longs to spooge over...I'm as All-American as can be.And yet I related to Portnoy deeply, dare I say "intimately." His internal voice was remarkably similar to my own, at least at times, in certain aspects. Even as I was pretty much the perfect example of the so-called mainstream American guy/gal Portnoy is alternately aghast at and aroused by, I felt more kinship with this character than I ever had from anybody in, say, Cheever, Updike, or (for crying out loud) Hawthorne.So, friends and neighbors, let this be a lesson- ain't no happiness no place, as the Chris Rock once memorably opined. Part of the reason I did love this book was because goes farther than most books you have ever read have tried and sit ucceeds 90% of the time. Promise.Caveat:I think the humor and the narrative snap of this book is basically best appreciated if somebody reading it is equally as outraged as they are entertained and scabrously scandalized by them.If you can think that your own (sex) life is ridiculous and pathetic and also, simultanously, incorrigibly, find the circumstances of it funny in a hyper-active, Jerry-by-way-of-Richard Lewis, Borscht-Belt kinda way....then this book is for you. Re-edited my review since I hadn't thought of this book in years and come across an interesting article by a guy who wrote some social criticism using it as a diving-board..., despite a few howlers, the Guardian has some fine things to say, and that top photo of Roth in full-on Bill and Ted mode is priceless...

  • Paolo
    2019-04-24 05:06

    Ma di che ti lamenti Alex Portnoy ?Scusa, sei l'erede prediletto di una famiglia normale che riversa su di te la quasi totalità dell'affetto, delle attenzioni e delle aspettative. Una famiglia che gode di un moderato benessere e non sperimenta lutti prematuri.Appartieni al popolo che l'Onnipotente ha designato come eletto fra tutti.Popolo eletto che, in verità, ha passato le sue, senonché i tuoi lungimiranti nonni hanno pensato bene di emigrare da qualche pulcioso shtetl dell'Europa orientale, risparmiandoti cosi qualche pogrom ed un quasi certo olocausto.Ed ancora ti lamenti ?E dove vanno i tuoi previdenti nonni a procreare i tuoi genitori, che ti metteranno al mondo ? Negli Stati Uniti d' America, terra di abbondanza, libertà ed opportunità. Per di più a New York, bella colta e cosmopolita, compendium mundi.Ed hai il coraggio di lamentarti ?Vieni al mondo negli anni '30, sperimenti solo vittorie, ascesa nel benessere in una società che è assolutamente sicura della crescita infinita e non ha ancora patito disillusioni.Appurato che non fai parte di quei 5 o 6 miliardi di esseri umani che se la passano peggio di te, effettivamente l'aver avuto tutte queste fortune qualche inconveniente lo procura ed il rapporto genitori/figli tanto più è stretto e tanto può avere esiti soffocanti, ricattatori, castranti.E' successo a qualcun altro di subire la famosa scenata rincasando tardissimo, senza preventivo preavviso e colpevolmente incolumi ?:“non ho chiuso occhio tutta la notte per l'ansia, per l'angoscia....un incidente.....una rissa . Le ho pensate tutte....., Incosciente ! Irresponsabile! Egoista ! Non hai pensato neanche un po' a tua madre ed a quanto male stava ? ”. Ed il bravo figliolo – come Portnoy tirato su sotto la campana di vetro - non ha sviluppato la quantità di pelo sullo stomaco per rispondere“ma chi te l'ha chiesto di stare in pensiero, mica è colpa mia...è un problema tuo....e poi...non è successo niente, qua sembra quasi che ti incazzi proprio per questo e per aver “sprecato” tutta questa apprensione....”, ma sedimenta sensi di colpa che deflagrano a distanza, proprio come ad Alex Portnoy.......tanto da costringerlo ad andare dallo strizzacervelli per capirne qualcosa, nonostante il suo QI da 158.In generale l'oggetto prevalente del lamento di Portnoy – dal punto di vista di un genitore – non è mica semplice: rassicurare/sostenere la prole evitando gli effetti nefasti da eccesso di investimento emotivo è una bella quadratura del cerchio. Non so voi come l'avete risolta voi..... Io ho adottato un criterio semplice: fare l'esatto contrario di quello che i miei hanno fatto con me. Vedremo i risultati col tempo.....Scusate la divagazione personale, ma d'altro canto il “Lamento” si presta.....Tornando al libro, lo definirei opera “seminale” (stricto sensu) per Philip Roth e come tale imperfetta e parziale ma della quale tutti gli eroi/antieroi egocentrici che verranno dopo saranno in qualche modo variazioni, in vicende più articolate ed in prospettive più complesse. Ritenuto osceno all'uscita, penso soprattutto per i passaggi relativi alla “Scimmia”, che oggi sarebbero ritenuti più che altro sessisti e “politicamente scorretti”. Ravviso in proposito una sorta di parabola sociale, linguistica ed esistenziale tra Portnoy e Coleman Silk ed i 30 anni che intercorrono tra l'uno e l'altro.Un gran bel modo per chiudere il 2014 di libri con una lettura tutta d'un fiato costellata da momenti di irrefrenabile scompisciamento, nella tradizione del miglior Woody Allen (per me quello di Radio Days che ha molti punti in comune con il “Lamento”).

  • Tyler
    2019-04-27 01:55

    This entertaining and smartly written book managed the difficult task of amusing and impressing me. The protagonist, too Jewish to be American yet, in the end, too American to be Jewish, reeled me in with his humorous, potent stream of consciousness that tapped into my own musings and assured me that I'm not alone in dwelling upon, uh, inglorious imagery. The humor comes across at times like stand-up comedy. You can see, then, how easily the author's concept could have gone flat. And so it would have in the hands of less skilled writers. That it succeeds so well in a literary genre testifies to Roth's touch. The effect of the book relies not just upon its humor, but as well upon its general entertainment and solid writing. We have here a pervert, one Alexander Portnoy, but an intelligent one, it must be stated. The confluence of excessive sexuality and the excessive consciousness intelligent people suffer from is about to drive this guy over the edge any moment, and boy do we hear about it. In fact, the whole book lays out his ever hysterical rant about the quixotic quest for a girlfriend who has all the talents he wants in one neat package -- minus all the baggage, of which he has a detailed list. Such a woman has never been known to exist in the annals of mankind, but Alexander thinks she's out there somewhere and he won't take no for an answer.Two groups I cannot recommend this book for are feminists and people who dislike excessive foul language. How Roth makes a great book out of a manuscript having these characteristics is hard to describe here, so the rest of you will just have to read it yourselves. At the very least, you may never look at the tags affixed to mattresses the same way again.

  • Fionnuala
    2019-04-06 04:47

    Smart, funny, outrageous, and totally irreverent with regard to parents and religion, and sex, of course. For 1969, at least. And even though there has been reams of material written since about these subjects, this book doesn't feel dated. However Roth wasn't the only one tackling such subjects at that time, although he was probably the funniest. In the early sixties, in conservative catholic Ireland, John McGahern braved the wrath of the entire country when he dared to state some nasty truths about the brutality of parents, the hypocrisy of religion and the sexual obsessions of teenage boys in such books as 'The Barracks' and 'The Dark', both banned for several decades. Somehow, Portnoy's over protected childhood in Newark seems quite ordinary compared to McGahern's.

  • Hugo Emanuel
    2019-04-20 07:08

    Já me tinha deparado inúmeras vezes com o nome de Roth. Tais menções vinham muitas vezes acompanhadas da opinião de que Roth é o "maior romancista americano vivo" e que captura magistralmente o que são muitas vezes referidos como "os problemas de assimilação e identidade dos judeus dos Estados Unidos". No entanto, também já tinha me deparado com tais elogios feitos a Saul Bellow, um autor que considero monótono e desinteressante, pelo que estava algo céptico em relação á obra de Roth. Um dia destes deparei-me com o "O Complexo de Portnoy" a um preço apetecível e apressei-me a adquiri-lo."O Complexo de Portnoy" está escrito em forma de monólogo, no qual ficamos a conhecer as atribulações de Portnoy, um estado-unidense com um enorme apetite e curiosidade sexual, por vezes de natureza considerada desviante, mas cuja gratificação sexual raramente é plena devido a um enorme sentimento de culpa derivado de impulsos éticos, altruístas ou edipianos. Tão única é a sua condição que Roth achou necessário criar uma condição psiquiátrica que denominou de “O Complexo de Portnoy” (caracterizada na 1 º pagina do romance).E o romance é apenas isso: um longo monólogo de Portnoy no qual este traça um itinerário de queixas, desventuras e justificações para o seu censurável comportamento. Descrito desta forma, parece uma leitura aborrecida e desnecessária. Não o é. Os seus queixumes são tecidos numa linguagem completamente franca, por vezes tremendamente obscena mas sempre hilariante. Devido á forma como os assuntos são abordados neste monólogo e a natureza consideravelmente amoral do seu protagonista esta obra é habitualmente caracterizada como uma longa anedota. Esta é uma forma completamente errónea de classificar esta obra, porque apesar de ser uma obra divertida e algo escabrosa (pelo menos para puritanos e seres humanos facilmente ofendidos) acaba por abordar, ainda que subtilmente, uma série de assunto sérios. Para além dos já referidos problemas de assimilação e identidade dos judeus dos Estados Unidos, critica-se também neste romance a crise de valores e hipocrisia existentes na sociedade americana do final dos anos 60, critica esta que atinge o seu apogeu quando Portnoy relata a sua estadia em Israel, o berço do seu povo. Surpreendeu-me acima de tudo a forma como Roth conseguiu atribuir tanta energia, interesse e hilaridade a um romance que tem a forma de um monólogo errático, subjectivo e que alguns (não eu) não hesitariam em classificar como um compêndio de obscenidades. Imagino que esta romance não seja bem representativo do seu trabalho como autor (apesar de ser um dos seus romances mais conhecidos), mas bastou para converter-me a Roth pois deixou bem claro que se trata de um autor com um excelente comando da sua prosa e que sabe transmitir os grandes temas que perfazem a comédia e tragédia humana de uma forma algo subtil e ao mesmo tempo clara e franca.Vou sem sombra de dúvida ler mais romances seus, sendo o próximo “A Conspiração Contra A América” que já adquiri e lerei em breve.