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"With the lover everyday life recedes," Roth writes—and exhibiting all his skill as a brilliant observer of human passion, he presents in Deception the tightly enclosed world of adulterous intimacy with a directness that has no equal in American fiction. At the center of Deception are two adulterers in their hiding place. He is a middle-aged American writer named Philip, living in London, and she is an articulate, intelligent, well-educated Englishwoman compromised by a humiliating marriage to which, in her thirties, she is already nervously half-resigned. The book's action consists of conversation—mainly the lovers talking to each other before and after making love. That dialogue—sharp, rich, playful, inquiring, "moving," as Hermione Lee writes, "on a scale of pain from furious bafflement to stoic gaiety"—is nearly all there is to this book, and all there needs to be.
was very beautiful. He very much wanted both. He had two children. He was forty-five. He was very clever and interesting and nice. He was one of the managers of my company. Quite important job. For about a year he was totally in love with me. But it went all wrong because he started to be scared. You know, in England they so very much are in love with their little house – and the garden. And wife. And he has kids. I didn’t want to marry. I just wanted to be with him. I just wanted him to love me.
they said that wasn’t enough, I had to come with them to the police station. I began to shout, alternately in English and in my high school French, that I wanted to see the ambassador at the American Embassy. I was only a few feet from the trolley stop and I started shouting at the people standing there that I was being harassed for no reason by the police and I demanded to be taken to the American Embassy. One of the cops meanwhile went up the street and there was my plainclothesman, in his blue
didn’t want to forget it. Some of what’s there is accurate reporting and it inspires what I would hope is accurate imagining. My Czech friend Ivan, crazy as he may be, never accused me of sleeping with Olina; we had no such falling out after she left him – did you read that part?’ ‘I read it all! I already had on my coat and, stupidly, stupidly, I sat back down and read the whole thing! Oh, it’s so much better not to know!’ ‘Well, I don’t believe this soap opera, really. You must dramatize
particularly by you. Darling, this is writing, that is all it is!’ ‘But published as it is –’ ‘Jesus Christ, is this Eastern fucking Europe? I will not be put in that position! That is too absurd! I won’t have it! You cannot stop me from writing what I write for a simple and ridiculous pathological reason – because I cannot stop myself! I write what I write the way I write it, and if and when it should ever happen, I will publish what I publish however I want to publish and I’m not going to
‘You’re in London. It’s okay. Talk.’ ‘How I got the job, I went to see the cultural attaché. And he said, “Oh, I’d be interested in you because you studied literature and so on.” He was a very nice man. Of Czech origin. So I liked him and he liked me, and he gave me a job, no trouble. But then you have to go to the Czech organization, who either give it to you or not. It organizes all employees for any foreign work, which in reality is a branch of Secret Service. Which I didn’t know. I was just