We picked up a remaindered copy of Philip Roth's 2006 novel Everyman the other day (thanks, Borders) and enjoyed some pleasant hours absorbed in Roth's prose.
Everyman is a short novel (182 pages), but it packs a wallop. The story follows the life and many regrets of a retired advertising man facing death. The novel, in fact, is something of an extended meditation on aging, memory, loss and regrets—lots of regrets.
Yes, this sounds depressing. It's not exactly the stuff of an uplifting page-turner. But in Roth's story, the ad man's mortality, his failing body and his ruminations on his life add up to something more hopeful, even inspiring.
In spite of all his troubles and his imminent death, Roth's protagonist offers an example of endurance and persistence.
Whether we admit it or not, none of us can escape the body's decay or death. But we can take some solace in Roth's Everyman and its central character, a man who—for all his flaws—can teach us some things about the meaning and purpose of life.