Mark Shechner

Exit Zuck

Reading Philip Roth’s new novel, “Exit Ghost,” is like running into an old friend, and being stunned by the changes. Of course he is older: So are you, though you don’t see it in yourself. In him you see the intervening years in an instant: There is a hesitation in the gait, as if he is now concentrating on his step. The shoulders slump forward, he has two or three days’ stubble of beard and, though you don’t remember him as ever being the most buoyant guy in town, he appears now to be depressed and simmering. He’s bending your ear, hysterically, about people on cell phones.

Up From Pushkin Street

The Jewish Century By Yuri Slezkine Princeton University Press, 344 pages, $29.95. * * *|Yuri Slezkine begins the fourth chapter of his book, “The Jewish Century,” with a synopsis of Tevye’s daughters, from Sholom Aleichem’s “Tevye the Milkman,” as if it were a parable of all modern Jewish history. “Tsaytl

Roth’s Fanfare for the Common Man

The Plot Against America By Philip Roth Houghton Mifflin Company, 400 pages, $26. ——Knitting domains together — domestic and global, story and back-story — always has been iffy for Philip Roth. He understands life best in the lower case — inside the family, the marriage, the disheveled heart, the desperate moment. His

Out of Africa

The Persistence of Memory By Tony Eprile Norton, 288 pages, $24.95. ——‘You know a country is in trouble when its Jews start leaving,” remarks a character in Tony Eprile’s new novel, “The Persistence of Memory.” “We are like the miner’s parakeet, and we are all going… to Australia, Canada, Israel, you name

A Flutter of Nabokov, a Scurry of Kafka

A Faker’s Dozen: Stories By Melvin Jules Bukiet W.W. Norton & Company, 268 pages, $23.95. * * *|If a baker’s dozen is 13, then what is a faker’s dozen? Try 11, because that is the number of stories Melvin Jules Bukiet gives us in his new collection of stories, “A Faker’s Dozen.” You can complain, if you like, that Bukiet,