(It’s worth mentioning that I believe Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep is one of the great American novels of the twentieth century. After a sixty-year long episode of writer’s block–when he published mostly articles about the exotic fowl business in which he was engaged in Maine–Henry Roth returned to publish, in the 1990s, just before his death, the superb, dark Mercy of a Rude Stream quartet, one of the great events of my reading life.)
“The book lays all possible stress on the nastiness of the human animal. It is the fashion, and we must make the best of the spectacle of a fine book deliberately and as it were doggedly smeared with verbal filthiness.”
The New York Times Book Review
Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.