This surprising novel from Roth is like being at the surf line. The water, though in motion, has a calm, unbroken surface. Then suddenly something snags, or accumulates, or breaks its surface tension. It foams, bubbles, gushes, gnashes. If you're standing in it, you might be knocked down, dragged under, your ears filled with its roar as you tumble and scrape to the sudden calm liminal edge, emerging filthy with blood and seaweed, sand in your hair. That's what it's like to read this, and though it can be anticipated, the shock of the sudden chaotic surge never normalizes. I read along. Zuckerman; fine. I know Zuckerman. Then things tip just a little and I'm in someone else's point of view. That's okay, it's indirect discourse; no, not I'm really in it rather than having Zuckerman broker it for me. Now there's a growling, seething upswell of emotion, a torrent of personal information, a dislocation from the previous narrative, a searing, a pounding, a scouring--and back to the shallows with mud in my eyes and horrible crustaceans scuttling off. Sappho said, "If you are squeamish, don't prod the beach rubble." This is only and entirely beach rubble, yet magnificent.
As to the plot, the plot is entertaining and witty. That's not what captivated me, though. It was the sustained and undulating and crashing waves, Portnoy's final rant fractally enhanced to become the whole world.
Highly recommended as an audiobook.