I read The American Pastoral some time ago, which wasn’t exactly my cup of cake, but still decided to give Philip Roth another chance. And it was indeed a wise decision, as ‘I married a communist’ amazed me in every possible way: language, story, characters.
As I read in a review on Entertainment Weekly, it seems that ‘in 1996 Philip Roth’s ex-wife, Claire Bloom — an actress with a cultivated, patrician aura — published Leaving a Doll’s House, a scathing memoir of her 18 years with Roth. In Roth’s novel, Eve Frame — an actress with a cultivated, patrician aura — publishes a scathing, distorted memoir that destroys her ex-husband.‘
The plot is set in the American 1950s, when Ira Ringold fights against the society, against the system, the rich and against capitalism. He is a red, a communist and tries hard to make people believe in his theories.
Besides being a perfect image of the politics of that era, I married a Communist is actually the story of Ira’s life and drama. I would like to say that I fell in love with this character, but I’m not sure that the expression ‘falling in love’ is the appropriate one. But yes, Ira Ringold is a spectacular book character. Very well described and built by Philip Roth. He is tall and stubborn, he is very passionate, he doesn’t know when to stop, he becomes obsessed with certain things and not making them happen, turns him into a complete maniac. This book is the story of a man who wanted to much from his life, but didn’t know exactly what that ‘much’ actually meant and, in conclusion, didn’t manage to achieve it.
His political beliefs didn’t reach out to people, his family life was a total mess, he couldn’t bear what was happening to him, but in his stubbornness, he went further and further, thinking that he will succeed.
Brilliantly written, this time Roth really opened my appetite for more of his novels.