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I Married a Communist - Philip Roth

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Author: Philip Roth / Genre: Fiction

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    Iron Rinn (né Ira Ringold) is a self-educated radio actor, married to a spoilt, rags-to-riches beauty, silent-film star Eve Frame (née Chave Fromkin). He is a Communist, and a sucker for suffering, locked into the cycle of violence from which he has emerged. She has risen by assiduous imitation of what is classy--which seems to include a wide swathe of anti-Semitism--and ultimately denounces her husband as a Soviet spook. And who would be the narrator of this McCarthy-era meltdown? None other than Philip Roth's longtime alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, who learns the full tragedy several decades later, owing to a chance encounter with Ira's brother: I'm the only person living who knows Ira's story, 90-year-old Murray Ringold tells Nathan, you're the only person still living who cares about it. Characteristically, Nathan also discovers that his own story was bound up with the blacklistings and ruined careers of the immediate postwar period. It seems that he had been tainted by his association with the Ringolds--Murray was in fact his high-school teacher--and was denied the Fulbright scholarship he deserved. They had you down for Ira's nephew, Murray tells Nathan. The FBI didn't always get everything right. Roth's acerbic style and keen eye for emotional detail goes to the heart of this moment of high tragedy in which the American dream was damaged beyond repair.