Characters Discussed

Nathan Zuckerman

Nathan Zuckerman, a famous American novelist, the author of Carnovsky. He is approached by Zdenek Sisovsky, a Czech refugee, who wants him to help retrieve his father’s unpublished short stories, which are still in Prague. Reluctantly, Zuckerman goes.

Zdenek Sisovsky

Zdenek Sisovsky, a Czech writer, the author of a single book, a mild satire that caused a scandal when published in 1967. He has therefore left his country, his wife and child, and his aging mother to go to America with his mistress, Eva Kalinova. He seeks the aid of Nathan Zuckerman, whose work he praises, to help retrieve his father’s unpublished Yiddish short stories, which remain in the possession of his estranged wife, Olga.

Eva Kalinova

Eva Kalinova, once the most famous actress in Czechoslovakia, now a distraught, bitter refugee with her current lover, Sisovsky. An accomplished Chekhovian, she no longer acts, because her English is poor, but she has become a salesperson for women’s dresses. In Czechoslovakia, she was married to a famous folk singer, Petr Kalina, but she left him for a Jewish “parasite,” Pavel Polak, and fell into disgrace.

Olga Sisovsky

Olga Sisovsky, Zdenek’s estranged wife, herself a writer, something of a celebrity, with “the most beautiful legs in Prague.” She is also famous as a drunk and a promiscuous woman, the results of...

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Bibliography

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Pinsker, Sanford, ed. Critical Essays on Philip Roth. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1982.

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Shostak, Debra. Philip Roth—Countertexts, Counterlives. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2004.