According to the Kindle, I am 12% finished with Goodbye, Columbus. This book seems like good luck to start with, as I live in Columbus! The novella of that title (the book is actually a novella and five short stories) doesn’t take place in Columbus, but still. Seems like an omen.
People are scared by Big Literary Authors, with their big words and thick tomes and heaps of awards. Roth certainly has heaps of awards, but he’s decidedly lacking in big words and thick tomes. One thing I find compelling about Roth is how accessible he is as a writer. He doesn’t erect a wall of words between himself and the reader, it’s just you and him there together in whatever story he’s telling you. Goodbye, Columbus is no exception. It’s a…how do I put this? A friendly book, so far. I’m a writer myself, and sometimes I just have to stop and sigh over Roth’s quiet economy of expression.
When it was all over, Simp refused my offer of a ride home and indicated with a quality of speech borrowed from some old Katherine Hepburn movie that she could manage for herself; apparently her manor lay no further than the nearest briar patch.
Look at that. Simp is a walk-on character, no more than an extra, and yet in that sentence Roth has given her practically an entire internal life, while at the same time bestowing on the narrator a voice and a point of view. And he does this with every damn sentence.
Maybe I shouldn’t worry about coming to hate The Roth.