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Nemesis
 
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Nemesis [Format Kindle]

Philip Roth
4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (9 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Equatorial Newark
 
   The first case of polio that summer came early in June, right after Memorial Day, in a poor Italian neighborhood crosstown from where we lived. Over in the city’s southwestern corner, in the Jewish Weequahic section, we heard nothing about it, nor did we hear anything about the next dozen cases scattered singly throughout Newark in nearly every neighborhood but ours. Only by the Fourth of July, when there were already forty cases reported in the city, did an article appear on the front page of the evening paper, titled “Health Chief Puts Parents on Polio Alert,” in which Dr. William Kittell, superintendent of the Board of Health, was quoted as cautioning parents to monitor their children closely and to contact a physician if a child exhibited symptoms such as headache, sore throat, nausea, stiff neck, joint pain, or fever. Though Dr. Kittell acknowledged that forty polio cases was more than twice as many as normally reported this early in the polio season, he wanted it clearly understood that the city of 429,000 was by no means suffering from what could be characterized as an epidemic of poliomyelitis. This summer as every summer, there was reason for concern and for the proper hygienic precautions to be taken, but there was as yet no cause for the sort of alarm that had been displayed by parents, “justifiably enough,” twenty-eight years earlier, during the largest outbreak of the disease ever reported—the 1916 polio epidemic in the northeastern United States, when there had been more than 27,000 cases, with 6,000 deaths. In Newark there had been 1,360 cases and 363 deaths.
   Now even in a year with an average number of cases, when the chances of contracting polio were much reduced from what they’d been back in 1916, a paralytic disease that left a youngster permanently disabled and deformed or unable to breathe outside a cylindrical metal respirator tank known as an iron lung—or that could lead from paralysis of the respiratory muscles to death—caused the parents in our neighborhood considerable apprehension and marred the peace of mind of children who were free of school for the summer months and able to play outdoors all day and into the long twilit evenings. Concern for the dire consequences of falling seriously ill from polio was compounded by the fact that no medicine existed to treat the disease and no vaccine to produce immunity. Polio—or infantile paralysis, as it was called when the disease was thought to infect mainly toddlers—could befall anyone, for no apparent reason. Though children up to sixteen were usually the sufferers, adults too could become severely infected, as had the current president of the United States.
   Franklin Delano Roosevelt, polio’s most renowned victim, had contracted the disease as a vigorous man of thirty-nine and subsequently had to be supported when he walked and, even then, had to wear heavy steel-and-leather braces from his hips to his feet to enable him to stand. The charitable institution that FDR founded while he was in the White House, the March of Dimes, raised money for research and for financial assistance to the families of the stricken; though partial or even full recovery was possible, it was often only after months or years of expensive hospital therapy and rehabilitation. During the annual fund drive, America’s young donated their dimes at school to help in the fi ght against the disease, they dropped their dimes into collection cans passed around by ushers in movie theaters, and posters announcing “You Can Help, Too!” and “Help Fight Polio!” appeared on the walls of stores and offi ces and in the corridors of schools across the country, posters of children in wheelchairs—a pretty little girl wearing leg braces shyly sucking her thumb, a clean-cut little boy with leg braces heroically smiling with hope—posters that made the possibility of getting the disease seem all the more frighteningly real to otherwise healthy children.
   Summers were steamy in low-lying Newark, and because the city was partially ringed by extensive wetlands—a major source of malaria back when that, too, was an unstoppable disease—there were swarms of mosquitoes to be swatted and slapped away whenever we sat on beach chairs in the alleys and driveways at night, seeking refuge out of doors from our sweltering flats, where there was nothing but a cold shower and ice water to mitigate the hellish heat. This was before the advent of home air conditioning, when a small black electric fan, set on a table to stir up a breeze indoors, offered little relief once the temperature reached the high nineties, as it did repeatedly that summer for stretches of a week or ten days. Outdoors, people lit citronella candles and sprayed with cans of the insecticide Flit to keep at bay the mosquitoes and flies that were known to have carried malaria, yellow fever, and typhoid fever and were believed by many, beginning with Newark’s Mayor Drummond, who launched a citywide “Swat the Fly” campaign, to carry polio. When a fl y or a mosquito managed to penetrate the screens of a family’s fl at or fl y in through an open door, the insect would be doggedly hunted down with fly swatter and Flit out of fear that by alighting with its germ-laden legs on one of the household’s sleeping children it would infect the youngster with polio. Since nobody then knew the source of the contagion, it was possible to grow suspicious of almost anything, including the bony alley cats that invaded our backyard garbage cans and the haggard stray dogs that slinked hungrily around the houses and defecated all over the sidewalk and street and the pigeons that cooed in the gables of the houses and dirtied front stoops with their chalky droppings. In the fi rst month of the outbreak—before it was acknowledged as an epidemic by the Board of Health—the sanitation department set about systematically to exterminate the city’s huge population of alley cats, even though no one knew whether they had any more to do with polio than domesticated house cats. 
   What people did know was that the disease was highly contagious and might be passed to the healthy by mere physical proximity to those already infected. For this reason, as the number of cases steadily mounted in the city—and communal fear with it—many children in our neighborhood found themselves prohibited by their parents from using the big public pool at Olympic Park in nearby Irvington, forbidden to go to the local “air-cooled” movie theaters, and forbidden to take the bus downtown or to travel Down Neck to Wilson Avenue to see our minor league team, the Newark Bears, play baseball at Ruppert Stadium. We were warned not to use public toilets or public drinking fountains or to swig a drink out of someone else’s soda-pop bottle or to get a chill or to play with strangers or to borrow books from the public library or to talk on a public pay phone or to buy food from a street vendor or to eat until we had cleaned our hands thoroughly with soap and water. We were to wash all fruit and vegetables before we ate them, and we were to keep our distance from anyone who looked sick or complained of any of polio’s telltale symptoms.
   Escaping the city’s heat entirely and being sent off to a summer camp in the mountains or the countryside was considered a child’s best protection against catching polio. So too was spending the summer some sixty miles away at the Jersey Shore. A family who could afford it rented a bedroom with kitchen privileges in a rooming house in Bradley Beach, a strip of sand, boardwalk, and cottages a mile long that had already been popular for several decades among North Jersey Jews. There the mother and the children would go to the beach to breathe in the fresh, fortifying ocean air all week long and be joined on weekends and vacations by the father. Of course, cases of polio were known to crop up in summer camps as they did in the shore’s seaside towns, but because they were nothing like as numerous as those reported back in Newark, it was widely believed that, whereas city surroundings, with their unclean pavements and stagnant air, facilitated contagion, settling within sight or sound of the sea or off in the country or up in the mountains afforded as good a guarantee as there was of evading the disease.
   So the privileged lucky ones disappeared from the city for the summer while the rest of us remained behind to do exactly what we shouldn’t, given that “overexertion” was suspected of being yet another possible cause of polio: we played inning after inning and game after game of softball on the baking asphalt of the school playground, running around all day in the extreme heat, drinking thirstily from the forbidden water fountain, between innings seated on a bench crushed up against one another, clutching in our laps the well-worn, grimy mitts we used out in the field to mop the sweat off our foreheads and to keep it from running into our eyes— clowning and carrying on in our soaking polo shirts and our smelly sneakers, unmindful of how our imprudence might be dooming any one of us to lifelong incarceration in an iron lung and the realization of the body’s most dreadful fears.
   Only a dozen or so girls ever appeared at the playground, mainly kids of eight or nine who could usually be seen jumping rope where far center field dropped off into a narrow school street closed to traffic. When the girls weren’t jumping rope they used the street for hopscotch and running-bases and playing jacks or for happily bouncing a pink rubber ball at their feet all day long. Sometimes when the girls jumping rope played double dutch, twirling two ropes in opposite directions, one of the boys would rush up unbidden and, elbowing aside the girl who was about to jump, leap in and mockingl...

Revue de presse

"It's as bleak as much of his recent fiction, but no less powerful" (Tatler)

"an affecting work with a memorable twist" (The Daily Telegraph, Review)

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 268 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 290 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0307745414
  • Editeur : Vintage Digital (23 décembre 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004GKMTOU
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (9 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°30.581 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Dramatic, tragic masterpiece 18 mai 2011
Format:Relié
Minutes into this book, this non-Jewish reader was hooked because of the masterful writing. It is about a polio outbreak in the US during WW II, 11 years before a vaccine was found. It deeply unsettles a Jewish neighborhood in Newark, NJ, which soon worries on two fronts. All able-bodied young males have left to fight the Japanese and Germans. But in the hot summer of 1944, some of their younger children die within 3 days from this mystery disease or are condemned to live with withered limbs and leg braces for the rest of their lives.
Families already worrying about their soldier sons busily discuss how polio is threatening their younger children. And their thoughts have no bounds: countless near-hysterical suspicions and accusations are whispered or voiced in every direction...

Mr. Roth's memories of wartime Newark, its smells and sounds, are vibrant and graphic. He has also read quite a few books to reconstruct this forgotten epoch in American medical history.

"Nemesis" has 3 parts and is also a biography of orphan Eugene "Bucky" Cantor (23), a short, muscular, agile Jewish sports instructor raised by his grandparents. The armed forces turned him down because of his poor eye sight. He acts commendably during the scorching summer of 1944, but leaves Newark at the height of the outbreak to pursue an alternative life choice... This is the subject of Part 2.
What happens next is high drama for readers to discover. The "fictional" author is not Philip Roth or his creation Bucky Cantor, but another polio casualty mentioned briefly on p.108, Arnie Mesnikoff, who reappears in Part 3, "Reunion".
This grand novel is occasionally over-lyrical about Bucky's sporting prowess, charisma and sheer goodness.
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8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Contagion (Le Saccage de la perfection) 6 novembre 2011
Par LD COMMENTATEUR DU HALL D'HONNEUR TOP 10 COMMENTATEURS
Format:Broché
Je fais partie des admirateurs de Philip Roth qui pensent qu'il n'est pas forcément au sommet tout le temps, à plus forte raison depuis quelques années. Ses "petites formes" ne me convainquent pas toujours. J'ai déjà pu écrire que, si je trouve Indignation / Indignation fort réussi, je n'ai que très modérément goûté The Humbling / Le Rabaissement (dernier en date à avoir été traduit en français, en octobre 2011). Le livre qui les a suivis immédiatement, et a été publié plus d'un an avant que le précédent n'arrive en France, Nemesis, est également petit par la taille et ne cherche pas lui non plus à avoir la même ambition romanesque que La Contrevie ou sa trilogie américaine. Pourtant, à l'image d'"Indignation", il s'agit d'un des livres de Roth où la matière n'est ni trop abondante, ni délayée, où sa précision stylistique fait des merveilles. Si vous pouvez lire en anglais, sachez que ce livre est assez abordable dans la langue originale. Lire la suite ›
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 du bon cru Roth 13 janvier 2013
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
En 1944 une épidemie de polio éclate dans le quartier juif de la ville de Newark New Jersey . Bucky Cantor jeune directeur du parc du quartier , honteux d'être reformé et de ne pas pouvoir combattre les nazis à cause de sa mauvaise vue se sent aussi coupable d'être impuissant face à la maladie qui tue et handicappe les jeunes dont il a la responsabilité. Ce sentiment de honte augmente lorsque sous la pression de sa fiancée il quitte la ville et abandonne les jeunes du centre aéré pour aller la rejoindre dans la colonie de vacances à la montagne où elle travaille et où il remplacera le directeur des activités nautiques qui vient d'être appelé au front. Située au bord d'un lac en pleine nature, la colonie semble un havre de pureté et de paix à l'abri de la maladie et la guerre . Bienqu'il se laisse aller un moment pour profiter de ce petit paradis et les retrouvailles avec sa fiancée, la parenthèse sera de courte durée . Roman clair et facile à lire, mais complexe et profond. Des thèmes chers à Roth : le mal, le racism, la guerre, la maladie, la mort, interrogation sur dieu, la coupabilité, la responsabilité individuelle et collective et nos limites et impuissance dans certains cas..
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Nemesis 29 septembre 2013
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Du style , du souffle, de l'art littéraire. Le personnage principal est admirablement campé, la narration est ciselée, puissante d'un bout à l'autre du récit.
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Passages les plus surlignés

 (Qu'est-ce que c'est ?)
&quote;
He has to convert tragedy into guilt. He has to find a necessity for what happens. There is an epidemic and he needs a reason for it. He has to ask why. Why? Why? That it is pointless, contingent, preposterous, and tragic will not satisfy him. That it is a proliferating virus will not satisfy him. Instead he looks desperately for a deeper cause, this martyr, this maniac of the why, and finds the why either in God or in himself or, mystically, mysteriously, in their dreadful joining together as the sole destroyer. &quote;
Marqué par 20 utilisateurs Kindle
&quote;
Fear unmans us. Fear degrades us. Fostering less fearthats your job and mine. &quote;
Marqué par 19 utilisateurs Kindle
&quote;
Sometimes youre lucky and sometimes youre not. Any biography is chance, and, beginning at conception, chancethe tyranny of contingencyis everything. Chance is what I believed Mr. Cantor meant when he was decrying what he called God. &quote;
Marqué par 17 utilisateurs Kindle

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