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The Facts is a work of compelling candour and inventiveness, instructive particularly in its revelation of the interplay between life and art. Philip Roth concentrates on five episodes from this life: his secure city childhood in the thirties and forties; his education in American life at a conventional college in the fifties; his passionate entanglement, as an ambitious young man, with the angriest person he ever met (the 'girl of my dreams' Roth calls her); his clash, as a fledgling writer, with a Jewish establishment outraged by Goodbye, Columbus; and his discovery, in the excesses of the sixties, of an unmined side to his talent that led him to write Portnoy's Complaint. The book concludes surprisingly - in true Rothian fashion - with a sustained assault by the novelist against his proficiencies as an autobiographer.
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