clive james weighs in on Roth


“Exit Ghost.” Great title. The book of a great writer. A great book? Maybe it’s just another piece of a puzzle. A great puzzle, and true to life in being so. In these strange and wonderful books that he writes under or about another name than his, Roth has been mapping the geography in an area of life where only his literary heroes — Kafka, of course, is one of them — have ever gone. The labyrinth of consciousness is actually constructed from the only means by which we can find a way out of it. It’s a web that Ariadne spins from her own thread. You don’t get to figure it out. You only get to watch it being spun. And if you are Nathan Dedalus (it was Zuckerman’s name for himself in the running heads to the second chapter of “The Ghost Writer”), you are in love with her for life, even if it kills you.

more from the NY Times here.