Indie Next ListNovember 2010
This is a fiercely passionate, devastating book on the themes of hubris and retributive justice set in an elegiac summer camp during an unchecked polio epidemic in the mid 1940s. Roth has done nothing less than create an authentic American counterpart to Greek tragedy. It's a disturbing, unnerving book that keeps you in an increasingly fearful nervous tension. This is Roth in top form. -- Russ Barker, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
Set in a Newark neighborhood during a terrifying polio outbreak, "Nemesis" is a wrenching examination of the forces of circumstance on our lives.
Bucky Cantor is a vigorous, dutiful twenty-three-year-old playground director during the summer of 1944. A javelin thrower and weightlifter, he is disappointed with himself because his weak eyes have excluded him from serving in the war alongside his contemporaries. As the devastating disease begins to ravage Bucky's playground, Roth leads us through every inch of emotion such a pestilence can breed: fear, panic, anger, bewilderment, suffering, and pain. Moving between the streets of Newark and a pristine summer camp high in the Poconos, "Nemesis" tenderly and startlingly depicts Cantor's passage into personal disaster, the condition of childhood, and the painful effect that the wartime polio epidemic has on a closely-knit, family-oriented Newark community and its children.