Goodbye, Columbus (1959)

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Roth's first collection of fiction includes the titular novella, plus five short stories all set in the parts of New Jersey to which Roth would so often return. The debut is classic Roth: irreverent, provocative, sexy, and both a celebration and a slight indictment of middle-class Jewish identity in post-war America. Vintage

Portnoy's Complaint (1969)

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This is the novel that made Roth a literary superstar, and it remains his most controversial. At the center of the novel is Alexander Portnoy, who narrates his story in the form of a monologue with his psychoanalyst as the pair try to get the root of Portnoy's central problem: his oversexed nature and gleeful, overzealous self-abuse. Houghton Mifflin

The Ghost Writer (1979)

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The first of many novels to feature Roth's alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, The Ghost Writer places the author's literary doppelgänger in a tony social setting where he meets a mysterious woman he believes may be Anne Frank. Roth continued his examination of Jewish-American identity with all of its complexities, wrestling with the aftermath of World War II in an American context. Vintage

Sabbath's Theater (1995)

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Roth won the National Book Award for this novel about Mickey Sabbath, a washed up puppeteer and self-professed dirty old man who deals with the sudden death of his lover in myriad self-destructive ways. As Sabbath approaches the likely end of his life, he must take stock in his legacy - or lack thereof. Houghton Mifflin

American Pastoral (1997)

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Roth's Pulitzer-winning novel, another in his Zuckerman series, is widely considered to be his masterwork. Zuckerman narrates the tragic tale of his high school classmate, Swede, whose all-American suburban life is shattered when his daughter becomes involved with a domestic terrorist group. The novel is Roth's attempt to understand the chaos and madness of the 1960s and their lasting effects on the American psyche. Vintage

The Plot Against America (2004)

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In a brilliant work of speculative fiction, Roth imagines a world in which Charles Lindbergh defeats incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt, winning the presidential election as the leader of the American First campaign. That alternative moment in time sets the United States on a different track entirely, with anti-Semitism seeping in from Europe on the eve of World War II. Houghton Mifflin

Indignation (2008)

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One of Roth's final novels, this short book tells the story of Marcus Messner as he enters his sophomore year at the picturesque Winesburg College. Set against the backdrop of the Korean War, Indignation looks at some of Roth's favorite subjects - identity, innocence, nostalgia, sex - in his typical irreverent fashion, ultimately skewering society's pretensions and perfectly nailing an ironic twist ending.Houghton Mifflin