Everyman is a novel by the American writer Philip Roth, published in 2006. The title is taken from an anonymous fifteenth-century morality play, a classic of the first English drama.
Philip Roth’s new novel is a candidly intimate yet universal story of loss, regret, and stoicism. The bestselling author of The Plot Against America now turns his attention from “one family’s harrowing encounter with history” (New York Times) to one man’s lifelong skirmish with mortality.
It takes a Philip Roth to have the nerve to give the resonant title Everyman to a small novel about a retired advertising executive turned amateur artist who dies prematurely while undergoing a heart operation. The terrain of this powerful novel is the human body. Its subject is the common experience that terrifies us all.
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.
Of course, the book is about more than that and, of course, anything from Roth in this late stage of his writing life deserves and, indeed, compels our attention.