O's Fall Reading Guide
By Philip Roth
160 pages; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Philip the great, Philip the audacious, the voracious, writes of bottomless hunger—emotional, sexual, existential. When you hear about a new Philip Roth novel, you have to read it, even (especially!) knowing you'll feel like you've walked into a small room with a self-consuming predator. The Humbling takes you into the constricted world of Simon Axler, an iconic, aging actor who, having lost his "magic" ("He could not give and he could not withhold"), is flirting with suicide, only to revive after sexually adventurous sometime-lesbian Pegeen Mike, daughter of Simon's old friends, knocks on his door. Love bites (natch), but Roth still has his chops.