Exit Ghost. By Philip Roth.

Exit Ghost is a 2007 novel by Philip Roth, is his  28th book ,and  it is seems, the final novel in the Zuckerman series, which began in 1979 with The Ghostwriter. It is the ninth, and Roth says his last, novel featuring Nathan  Zuckerman.  Now, Exit Ghost places Roth’s alter ego Nathan Zuckerman back in New York, where he is soon entangled again with everything he set out to renounce. In this book Zuckerman being Zuckerman and Roth being Roth, the plot is much more complicated than it at first appears.

Zuckerman is the original unreliable narrator, sometimes swapping and distorting the facts, sometimes writing or appearing in a metafiction, the deliberate signposting of literary devices.

Zuckerman re-reads the previous volumes of his short stories and concludes: ‘He was as good as I thought. He was better’, but doesn’t quote a single line or even a title.

It’s a lot of business for a short novel, and what Zuckerman can’t handle, the book leaves unfinished. As a man who feels his time has passed, he’s allowed one last look at the things that have troubled him before he walks offstage.

Lonoff’s next-to-last words, as reported by Amy Bellette were: ‘The end is so immense, it is its own poetry. It requires little rhetoric. Just state it plainly.’ This, of course, is immensely rhetorical.


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