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The Ghost Writer

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Title: The Ghost Writer  
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Subject: Alexandre Desplat, Nathan Zuckerman, Zuckerman Unbound, Philip Roth, The Middle Years (story)
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The Ghost Writer

The Ghost Writer
First edition cover
Author Philip Roth
Country United States
Language English
Series Zuckerman Bound
Genre Novel
Publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 180 pp
OCLC 4933340
LC Class PZ4.R8454 Gh PS3568.O855
Followed by Zuckerman Unbound

The Ghost Writer (1979) is the first novel by Philip Roth to be narrated by Nathan Zuckerman, one of Roth's putative fictional alter egos, and constitutes the first book in his Zuckerman Bound trilogy. The novel touches on themes common to many Roth works, including identity, the responsibilities of authors to their subjects, and the condition of Jews in America. Parts of the novel are a reprise of Anne Frank's Diary.[1]


  • Plot introduction 1
  • Television movie 2
  • Critical reception 3
  • Awards 4
  • Exit Ghost 5
  • External links 6
  • References 7

Plot introduction

Nathan Zuckerman is a promising young writer who spends a night in the home of E.I. Lonoff (a portrait, it has been argued, of Bernard Malamud or Henry Roth or a composite of both),[2] an established author whom Zuckerman idolizes. Also staying in the Lonoff home is Amy Bellette, a young woman with a vague past whom the narrator apparently comes to suspect as being Anne Frank, living in the United States anonymously, having survived the Holocaust. It becomes apparent towards the end of the book that this conjecture is part of a fiction composed by Zuckerman.

Television movie

In 1984 a television adaptation was made of the book in the UK. It was directed by Tristram Powell and starred Rose Arrick, Claire Bloom, Sam Wanamaker, Cecile Mann, MacIntyre Dixon, Mark Linn-Baker, Ralph Morse, Joseph Wiseman, and Patricia Fellows.

Critical reception

The book was widely praised at publication. In The New Yorker, John Updike described Roth as "Always one of the most intelligent and energetic of American writers, he has now become one of the most scrupulous."[3] In The New York Times Book Review,[4] critic Harold Bloom said of the three collected Zuckerman novels, "'Zuckerman Bound' merits something reasonably close to the highest level of esthetic praise for tragicomedy."


The Pulitzer committee for fiction selected The Ghost Writer for the prize in 1980. The Pulitzer board, which has final say over awarding the prize, overrode their decision and chose Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song instead.[5] The book was also a finalist for the 1980 National Book Award.[6]

Exit Ghost

In 2007, Roth published the novel Exit Ghost, which Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times[7] called "elegiac" and "a kind of valedictory bookend to 'The Ghost Writer.'"

External links


  1. ^ Moraru, Christian (2005) Memorious discourse: reprise and representation in postmodernism, pp.224-5
  2. ^ Joshua Cohen, "A Life Torn Between Myth and Fact," The Forward, October 2, 2007
  3. ^ John Updike, Odd Jobs, New York: Knopf, 1991. p. 365.
  4. ^ Harold Bloom, "His Long Ordeal By Laughter," The New York Times Book Review, May 19, 1985.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Michiko Kakutani, "Seeking at Moral at the End of the Tale," The New York Times, October 2, 2007.
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