by Philip Roth
The book I read immediately after finishing "The Portnoy Complex," by the same author. It is written in a completely different time, at a different point in the author's career.
It is a much more depressing story. It shows a life full of problems. Both those related to family life, which the protagonist caused himself, and those over which he had no control - related to health. The protagonist's encounters with illness, aging, and the loss of loved ones force him to confront his own mortality, leading to profound introspection and self-discovery.
Although very personal themes are raised here, the narrative is conducted quite "coolly". As a reader, I should guess for myself that this is indeed a tragic story.