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The Breast

The Breast

Written by Philip Roth

Narrated by David Colacci


The Breast

Written by Philip Roth

Narrated by David Colacci

ratings:
3.5/5 (38 ratings)
Length:
1 hour
Released:
Jan 15, 2010
ISBN:
9781441805553
Format:
Audiobook

Description

Like a latter-day Gregor Samsa, Professor David Kepesh wakes up one morning to find that he has been transformed. But where Kafka's protagonist turned into a giant beetle, the narrator of Philip Roth's richly conceived fantasy has become a 155-pound female breast. What follows is a deliriously funny yet touching exploration of the full implications of Kepesh's metamorphosis-a daring, heretical book that brings us face to face with the intrinsic strangeness of sex and subjectivity.

"The Breast is terrific . . . inventive and sane and very funny. The trick which is the heart of the book is brilliant . . . and rich with meaning."-John Gardner, The New York Times Book Review

"Hilarious, serious, visionary, logical, sexual-philosophical; the ending amazes-the joke takes three steps beyond savagery and satire and turns into a sublimeness of pity. One knows when one is reading something that will permanently enter the culture."-Cynthia Ozick
Released:
Jan 15, 2010
ISBN:
9781441805553
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Philip Roth (1933-2018) was the award-winning author of Goodbye, Columbus, Portnoy’s Complaint, The Great American Novel, and the books that became known as the Zuckerman Trilogy (The Ghost Writer, Zuckerman Unbound, The Anatomy Lesson), among many others. His honors include two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle Awards, three PEN/Faulkner Awards, the Man Booker International Prize, the National Humanities Medal, and the Pulitzer Prize. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Philip studied literature at Bucknell University, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A., and at the University of Chicago where he received an M.A. From 1955 to 1991, he taught writing and literature classes on the faculties of the University of Chicago, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania. In 2005, he was the only third living writer whose books were published by the Library of America. He lived in Manhattan and Connecticut.


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Reviews

What people think about The Breast

3.7
38 ratings / 14 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (2/5)
    Ok, this is really a short story, and it reads easily. I was not offended or shocked by anything, but I’m not entirely sure what the author was trying to say or accomplish.I just spent a good part of my afternoon trying to imagine what a 6 ft long, 155 lb female breast would like like, and how in hell the poor guy who turned in to the breast is able to communicate. Then I realized this is silly, so I’m moving on.Wtf, #1001books
  • (3/5)
    This book was suggested to me during a discussion about an irksome segment of the 20thC literary canon: middle-aged male Americans obsessed with adultery, daddy issues or declining sexual appetite, usually relayed through obnoxiously academic or otherwise “intellectual” main characters, who think their navel-gazing is Such Serious Business. My example was John Updike; a friend suggested this novella by Philip Roth as a fun example of the subgenre. And fun it was: The breast deals indeed with an aging American academic who is full of himself and who is obsessed with grandstanding through bragging about his intelligence and his sexual prowess. One day, though, he finds he has transformed into a female breast unattached to a body, an excessively grotesque development which leads to an unholy amount of introspection. The fun part is that the novella is run through with a layer of tongue-in-cheek self-awareness: Roth walks the line between playing the subgenre straight and highlighting its pathological absurdity. Its over-the-top quality is what saves it: I don’t think it would have worked if any of it were any less outrageous.
  • (4/5)
    Only Philip Roth could tell this story of a middle aged man who metamorphoses into a 155 pound breast. Yes, you read that right. This is unlike any other novel I have read by Roth due to its Kafkaesque nature. What does it mean to change from a person to an object? Roth is somehow able to do the question justice with wit and psychological depth. Wonderful novella!
  • (3/5)
    Typical middle-aged white male literary angst (bored with attractive younger mistress, not taken seriously by work colleagues, etc), with a weird, Kafka-esque twist. I'm still deciding what I think about this one - though, since it's the holiday season, I will say that it'd definitely be an interesting (read: ill-advised) gift. I can only imagine what the recipient would assume was being implied by the choice.
  • (3/5)
    Typical middle-aged white male literary angst (bored with attractive younger mistress, not taken seriously by work colleagues, etc), with a weird, Kafka-esque twist. I'm still deciding what I think about this one - though, since it's the holiday season, I will say that it'd definitely be an interesting (read: ill-advised) gift. I can only imagine what the recipient would assume was being implied by the choice.
  • (1/5)
    I don't even know what to say to this thing.
  • (3/5)

    2 people found this helpful

    A man turns into a tit. We've all been there.

    2 people found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    Premise: A man is transformed in a Kafkaesque manner into an enormous breast. With a plot as seemingly silly as this, it's a little hard to imagine The Breast being a serious novella about self-control, insanity, and sexuality - and yet that's what it is. Not Philip Roth's best work by a long shot, but worth checking out if you're looking for a short, quirky read that's light-hearted yet thought-provoking.
  • (3/5)
    Utter genius, but best read in the conjunction with the Kepesh series ...or after reading the metamorphosis by Kafka.
  • (4/5)
    The idea of a story about a man waking up to find he has been transformed into a 155-pound female breast would normally suggest a vengeful satire on men's treatment of women as sex objects. But feminism is the last thing to expect from Philip Roth. There is no social message in The Breast. In his new condition, literature professor David Kepesh retains hearing and speech, but is blind. His only tactile sensations are those of erotic stimulation. Thus his contact with the outside world is limited to the two things that mattered most to him: language and sex. How he adjusts to his bizarre new existence explores these two factors as the keys to our self-knowledge.At the same time, the novel pays playful homage to Kafka's "Metamorphosis," Gogol's "The Nose," and Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" with inspiration from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke.
  • (4/5)
    Self-consciously clever parody of Kafka's Metamorphosis that adds a dimension of sexuality that is coarse in its directness. Much of the humour is adolescent, which is why I liked it more when I first read it than I did later in life.
  • (2/5)
    I really do believe that Philip Roth has some issues with sexuality that somebody needs to work with him on. The Breast is an updated Metamorphosis - but more nauseatingly absurd and with less to be said about it. Is it about our society's fixation on sexuality, particularly female sexuality? How men are rendered helpless by the female form? Is it just absurd for its own sake? In any case, it was disconcerting and unpleasant to read
  • (3/5)
    Philip Roth toys with Kafka's The Metamorphosis and turns his author David Kepesh into a giant breast. The Breast is very funny at times, and if you've read The Metamorphosis or any of Roth's other Kepesh novels (or both!), you will probably enjoy it. It's easily a one-sitting read.
  • (3/5)
    this book is fuckin crazy. i loved it and hated it at the same time. i loved it because it's like reading a comic book - what good is it other than to pass the time? the book doesn't say anything about anything. it's just a rambling of sorts while the main character is confined, as a boob, to a hammock. great.but it's not bad, really. it's so short you don't even realize you're done till you're done.