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The Ghost Writer: 08/07/07
I won't get Sixteen Short Novels finished in time for the August BookCrossing meeting but I am on schedule to finish it by my five month goal of September.
"The Ghost Writer" when stripped bare is the same type of story as "The Lesson of the Master" where a young brilliant writer meets the older established "master" who inspired him to write in the first place. In the process of being disillusioned with his role model, he grows as a person and finds love.
What makes "The Ghost Writer" different is Philip Roth's unique mixture of autobiography and alternative history. This novella introduces Roth's alter ego: Nathan Zuckerman, a character who returns in further Roth stories. Zuckerman, the novice writer here, spends a night at his mentor's house and meets a young woman named Amy who claims to be Anne Frank.
Meanwhile, Zuckerman struggles with the demands of writing the great American story and the great Jewish story. Advice givers tell him that the two are mutually incompatible and his mentor offers no help beyond telling him to "turn words" around. While Zuckerman explores his options as a writer, his first person narrative hits on many of the cliches he's told to avoid: arguments over money, extra marital affairs, and so forth.
Don't drive if you're to tired and that's an order!