On the Moral Brink

Nemesis

by Philip Roth
Houghton Mifflin, 280 pp., $26.00

Philip Roth’s Nemesis, set in Newark in the polio summer of 1944, places him in a line of writers who have used the plague condition to explore the resolve of human beings and the durability of their institutions under attack by an invisible, inscrutable, and deadly force. In this respect the plague condition is simply a heightened state of the condition of being mortal.

This article is available to subscribers only.
Please choose from one of the options below to access this article:

If you already have one of these subscriptions, please be sure you are logged in to your nybooks.com account. If you subscribe to the print edition, you may also need to link your web site account to your print subscription. Click here to link your account services.