Philip Roth is the only author I can forgive for 6 page long paragraphs. As my friend Rachel recently said, “He makes language his bitch,” and that is certainly true in Operation Shylock: A Confession.
On the surface, this book is about a fake Philip Roth, running around Jerusalem, speaking to the press, giving lectures, and otherwise living off the fame of the real Philip Roth. The book though, like all of Roth’s, is of course about much more than that.
The real story is that of the conflict between Zionists and those who believe in diaspora. And no, I didn’t really know much about either of those terms before reading this book. Of the dozen or so Roth novels I’ve read, this is definitely one of the least accessible, and while I did enjoy it immensely, it was much more academic than many of his novels.
This novel taught me things, and it was a shining example of Roth’s abilities, but in the end it lacked the heart I need to really get immersed in a novel.
p.s. If you’re looking for a place to start with Roth, and you’re the hopeless miserable sort, go check out my review of his first novel, Letting Go.