The second novel of Roth’s eloquent American trilogy, set in the tempestuous McCarthy era - a brilliant successor to American Pastoral
I Married a Communist charts the rise and fall of Ira Ringold, an American roughneck who begins life as a ditchdigger in 1930s New Jersey, becoming a big-time radio hotshot in the 1940s. In his heyday as a star - and as a zealous, bullying supporter of 'progressive' political causes - Ira marries Hollywood's beloved leading lady, Eve Frame. Their glamorous honeymoon is short-lived, however, and it is the publication of Eve's scandalous bestselling expose that identifies Ira as 'an American taking his orders from Moscow'.
In this story of cruelty, betrayal, and savage revenge, anti-Communist fever pollutes national politics and infects the relationships of ordinary Americans; friends become deadly enemies, parents and children tragically estranged, lovers blacklisted and felled from vertiginous heights.
‘Quintessential Philip Roth’ Sunday Telegraph
Philip Roth was born in Newark, New Jersey on 19 March 1933. The second child of second-generation Americans, Bess and Herman Roth, Roth grew up in the largely Jewish community of Weequahic, a neighbourhood he was to return to time and again in his writing. After graduating from Weequahic High School in 1950, he attended Bucknell University, Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago, where he received a scholarship to complete his M.A. in English Literature.
In 1959, Roth published Goodbye, Columbus – a collection of stories, and a novella – for which he received the National Book Award. Ten years later, the publication of his fourth novel, Portnoy’s Complaint, brought Roth both critical and commercial success, firmly securing his reputation as one of America’s finest young writers. Roth was the author of thirty-one books, including those that were to follow the fortunes of Nathan Zuckerman, and a fictional narrator named Philip Roth, through which he explored and gave voice to the complexities of the American experience in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries.
Roth’s lasting contribution to literature was widely recognised throughout his lifetime, both in the US and abroad. Among other commendations he was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the International Man Booker Prize, twice the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award, and presented with the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal by Presidents Clinton and Obama, respectively.
Philip Roth died on 22 May 2018 at the age of eighty-five having retired from writing six years previously.
"A passionate and coruscating American tragedy" Financial Times 20020614 "Roth explores our expedients and tragedies with a masterly, often unnerving, blend of tenderness, harshness, insight and wit...a gripping novel" New York Times Book Review "Roth remains as edgy, as furious, as funny, and as dangerous as he was forty years ago" New York Review of Books "Quintessential Philip Roth" Sunday Telegraph "I Married a Communist proves that, following the success of Sabbath's Theater and American Pastoral, he remains on extraordinary form... Wonderful storytelling and characterisation" -- Erica Wagner Guardian, Books of the Year