Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel


Currently reading Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel, just finished the prologue which involves Word Smith, an 87 year old senile sports writer obsessed with alliteration ranting and ranting and ranting on and on and on about the most random shit such as his appreciation of the alphabet and how grateful he is there are only 26 and not any more, his obsession with alliteration listing adjective upon adjective describing events and slits (women). He ends up in an old people’s home where the doctor recommends he not give into the alliteration attacks because its a disease and will possibly kill him. He is called Smitty and loves to share his grievance in the elimination of forgotten baseball leagues and players. He obsesses about them and votes for their validity in the Hall of Fame. He shares an experience that might well be fiction about a trip with Hemingway and a Vassar literatoor graduate of a slit and his stories on each attempted great american novel such a those written by Hawthorne, Melville, and the like. I am loving the spastic randomness, the alliteration listmaking (if you notice I have a tendency to give into alliteration fits in my writing. Its subtle but look for it. It’s there). This Smitty fella is exciting the shit out of me and I’m chuckling like a crazy senile 87 year old man on the train reading this. Let’s see how the rest of the book goes.


1 Comment

Filed under Literature

One response to “Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel

  1. American Pastoral is still on my plate. I think alliteration gets a bad rap.

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