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The Dying Animal - Philip Roth


The Dying Animal

Philip Roth

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David Kepesh is white-haired and over sixty, an eminent TV culture critic and star lecturer at a New York College, when he meets Consuela Castillo, a decorous, well-mannered student of twentyfour, the daughter of wealthy Cuban exiles, who promptly puts his life into erotic disorder and haunts him for the next eight years. Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s freed him from his wife and child, Kepesh has experimented with living what he calls an 'emancipated manhood' beyond the reach of family or a mate. Over the years, he has refined that exuberant decade of protest and licence into an orderly way of life in which he is both unimpeded in the world of Eros and studiously devoted to his aesthetic pursuits. But the youth and beauty of this 'newly-hatched' woman - 'a masterpiece,' as Kepesh describes Consuela, 'of volupte' - undo him completely. His worldliness, his confidence, his reason desert him, and on the brink of old age, a maddening sexual possessiveness transports him to the depths of deforming jealousy. The light-hearted erotic tale with which he began evolves into a poignant, tragic story of love and loss. The Dying Animal is vintage Roth fiction, a masterpiece of passionate immediacy. It is intellectually bold, forcefully candid, wholly of our time, and utterly without precedent - a story of sexual discovery told about himself by a man of seventy.

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