Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

This book is fiction, although it has been written as a kind of a memoir. A memoir of a childhood in an America, where the hero Charles Lindbergh is president of the United States with connections to Hitler's Germany. It is fiction and it is about how the American jews were treated under the reign of Lindbergh. It is intense and it is written in a way leaving no doubt that Philip Roth can really write! At the same time, the language is compact and the reader has to get used to the style with the very long sentences before the reading really gets going.
The young boy Philip grows up in a Jewish neighborhood outside New York in the 1940's. He lives with his mother, father and older brother. Later in the story, his cousin moves in after having been to Europe fighting in WW 2.
Slowly it dawns on Philip that the world is much bigger than he thought and the even in his safe haven, USA, there are dangers for Jewish families, even though they are just minding their own business.

Lindberg and his borderline facist government is going to get a lot closer to Philip and his family than they had ever imagined and the reader witness how the family and the family ties slow disintegrate

The Plot Against America is first and foremost a story about a childhood being hit suddenly by a force, which the child is powerless against.

But even though this doesn't sound like much fun, this book is packed with humour which hits hard and is on the spot. It is not a book you read in one sitting on a rainy afternoon. There are way too many things to think about to be able to do that.

As an experiment, it is a great plot and it is quite scary to think about how the world would have looked today if any president of The United States had been in collaboration with Nazi Germany. Highly recommendable.

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