A novel set
in the heart of the McCarthy era, I Married a Communist (Houghton
Mifflin Co.) tells the story of famous radio actor Ira Ringold,
who marries the charming and much-adored silent-film star Eve Frame.
Philip Roth, AM’55, describes the transformation of their
glamorous and impassioned marriage into one of treachery and betrayal.
writes an exposé about her husband, she destroys him by revealing
the deadly personal secret he has been fleeing: He is a Communist.
Their tragic tale is told by Nathan Zuckerman, Roth’s alter ego,
and one of his favorite high-school teachers, Murray Ringold, Ira’s
brother. Frame’s response mirrors that of Roth’s own wife, Claire
Bloom, who wrote the tell-all autobiography Leaving a Doll’s
the tumult of the United States’ dark years—teeming with deceit,
insidious gossip, and the blacklist—and the morphing of idealist
visions into actions of humiliation and revenge. Through Ringold’s
intellectual development and embrace of proletariat thought, Roth
also shows how people and life experiences can provide the ultimate
education. Roth was one of nine recipients of the 1998 National
Medal of Arts.—J.P.