Read May 2007
The novel is short and is structurally quite simple. The protagonist (i.e. the dying animal) is an ageing sixties-generation literary critic and teacher. Some years ago he left his wife for sexual freedom and now spends his time seducing young women students. He develops a passionate and jealous love affair with a young Cuban woman with the protagonist developing a fixation on the woman’s breasts. The relationship, as the reader expects, comes to an end, but a year or so afterwards the woman contacts the ageing professor to tell him that she has breast cancer. Prior to surgery he photographs her, but later against the background of New Year heralding in the new millennium we understand the operation was not successful.
For me this novel is not Roth at his best but it is a short interesting read.