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8 December 2010 / getrus

The Plot Against America — Philip Roth

I had heard good things about Philip Roth as an author and have to say most of them were true.  The Plot Against America was a story which only few people would be able to write without having the whole thing sound absurd.  To imagine an alternate history in the first place is daunting.  How can you imagine what would be different from what you already know to have happened?

Roth writes the story of a Jewish family living in New Jersey just starting just before WWII.  The anti-Semitism is rife throughout the country and the rest of the world.  The election begins and by a change of fate, FDR is not elected to his historic third term, but instead Charles Lindbergh, aviator, is elected.   Without going into details, the US does no go to war with Germany or any other country.  It manages to stay out of the war through several treaties with Germany, which can only spell trouble for the Jewish population.

The family makes its way throughout the course of the novel with many trials, mainly because of what other family members have done or what they represent to the majority of the Jewish population.  The are magnificently (this word does not begin to describe them with justice) well-written and given full characterizations which are, at times, seldom found in newer fiction.

I enjoyed reading this immensely, even though it did take me awhile.  (I had to put it away for  a couple of weeks.)  The only part which I did not like was the way Roth finished the book.  I am not saying it was a bad ending, but I felt he rushed it.  I felt as if he tried to bring closure in the smallest  amount of pages possible and that he could have spent a little bit longer in fleshing it out.

**** (four stars)


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