Deception (novel)

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First edition cover
AuthorPhilip Roth
CountryUnited States
PublisherSimon & Schuster
Publication date

Deception is a 1990 novel by Philip Roth.


The novel marks the first time Roth uses his own name as the name of the protagonist within a fictional work; he had previously used himself as a main character in a work of non-fiction - The Facts: A Novelist's Autobiography, and would do so again in the memoir Patrimony. "Roth" would also be narrator of the novels Operation Shylock and The Plot Against America.


At the center of the book are conversations between a married American named Philip, living in London, and a married Englishwoman—trapped with a small child in a loveless upper-middle-class household. The lives of both characters are gradually revealed as they talk before and after making love.


Writing in the New York Times Book Review, the writer and critic Fay Weldon called the novel, "extraordinary, elegant, disturbing," adding that she had found it, "exhilarating."[1] She continues:

"Mr. Roth throws down a gauntlet. He is very brave; this literary navel-gazing is a risky occupation. Is this novel a portrait of Mr. Roth or non-Roth in hateful literary London, having it off with the wives of his friends? What conceit, to think we're interested. Yet he gets away with it even as he angers us. How skillful this lover, he who started out as the grubby, impetuous Portnoy, has become. How delicately within this 'text without exposition et cetera' he delineates lines of plot, character, event, desire. How he seduces the reluctant, soothes the aggravated."

Library of America[edit]

Deception is included in the fifth volume of Philip Roth's collected works Novels and Other Narratives 1986–1991, published by the Library of America.


  1. ^ Fay Weldon, "Talk Before Sex and Talk After Sex," The New York Times Book Review, 11 March 1990.