BOOK REVIEW / Paperbacks: Operation Shylock by Philip Roth, Vintage pounds 5.99

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The Independent Culture
Roth, here acting the arch-self-dramatist, dispenses with the masks of Portnoy and Zuckerman and casts as his hero the famous novelist 'Philip Roth'. He goes further, providing Roth with an anti-self, a namesake / lookalike who has been appropriating Roth's world-wide prestige to promote the bizarre notion of Diasporism, an inverted Zionism aimed at resettling Israelis in Europe. When Roth goes to Israel to face down the imposter he plunges into a fully-fledged identity crisis, in which he partially changes places with the imposter. Awash with ironies, exuberant rhetoric and endless worrying at the question, 'I am a Jew, but what is a Jew?', this resembles the ultimate Philip Roth parody. Very funny, but can he be serious?