Indignation by Philip Roth is set in the early 50’s with the Korean War waging across the sea and the threat of the draft looming over young men like Marcus Messner, the son of the kosher-buthcher in Newark, New Jersey, who attends the city college across town and plays on the baseball team and works for his father. But his father’s paranoia forces him to move out to Winesburg, Ohio and the respectable college with brick buildings and mid-American values. But Marcus doesn’t fit in well with his new surroundings and falls in love with a Olivia Hutton, the girl with a scarred wrist.
Roth boils indignation with each of Marcus’ mis-steps and produces a seething illustration of a young liberal idealist opposing the strong arm of traditional American conservatism and failing miserably. It’s a bitter tragedy of another Newark Jew that Roth is so masterfully known for.
NPR has an interview with Roth discussing the novel that you can listen to (here).
Mark Sarvas isn’t impressed in his review (here).
Here’s an interview with Roth by Oregonian’s Jeff Baker.