Roth’s award-winning first book instantly established its author’s reputation as a writer of explosive wit, merciless insight, and a fierce compassion for even the most self-deluding of his characters.
Goodbye, Columbus is the story of Neil Klugman and pretty, spirited Brenda Patimkin, he of poor Newark, she of suburban Short Hills, who meet one summer break and dive into an affair that is as much about social class and suspicion as it is about love. The novella is accompanied by five short stories that range in tone from the iconoclastic to the astonishingly tender and that illuminate the subterranean conflicts between parents and children and friends and neighbors in the American Jewish diaspora.
I read this a while ago, and while it was easy to read, what surprised me was the depth of the story. While on the surface the story is one of love, the commentary on social class, especially that of American Jewish families, was educational and enlightening because I didn’t have much knowledge about that subject.
I haven’t read the other stories in the collection, but will do so soon.