by Philip Roth
Roth's novel is a candidly intimate yet universal story of loss, regret and stoicism. The best-selling author of The Plot Against America now turns his attention from "one family's harrowing encounter with history," according to The New York Times, to one man's lifelong skirmish with mortality. The fate of Roth's everyman is traced from his first shocking confrontation with death on the idyllic beaches of his childhood summers, through the family trials and professional achievements of his vigorous adulthood, and into his old age, when he is rended by observing the deterioration of his contemporaries and stalked by his own physical woes. A successful commercial artist with a New York ad agency, he is the father of two sons from a first marriage who despise him and a daughter from a second marriage who adores him.
In the end, he is a man who has become what he does not want to be. The terrain of this powerful novel--Roth's 27th book and the fifth one published in the 21st century--is the human body. Its subject is the common experience that terrifies us all. Everyman takes its title from an anonymous 15th-century allegorical play, a classic of early English drama, whose theme is the summoning of the living to death.