Monday, September 20, 2010
Novotny's Pain, by Philip Roth
Novotny's Pain is a 33 page short story by Philip Roth, published by Los Angeles bookdealers Sylvester & Orphanos in 1980. First appearing in The New Yorker in 1962, "Novotny's Pain" is the story of the recently-drafted Novotny whose mysterious back pain prevents him from being shipped out to Korea. It feels like the American sibling of The Death of Ivan Ilyich, as they both delve into grand themes of fate and responsibility to the world.
This is copy 209 of 330. There are 26 lettered copies, and four additional copies which were specifically made out to their recipient. The text looks beautiful printed on the book's thick, deckled Arches paper, and feels slightly raised if you were to run your hand along the pages. Similar to Roth's other elusive volume His Mistress's Voice, Novotny's Pain is a must-have for any serious collector.