Long out of print in English, this dizzying hybrid of novel, essay, and polemic has less to do with religion than with what Roth sees as the disintegrating moral fabric of the modern world
Written while Roth was in exile from Germany and his native Austria following the rise of Nazism, this work was composed in cafés across free Europe after all his works in German went up in flames. Such events no doubt influence the apocalytic tones of The Antichrist's protaganist, J.R., a journalist hired by an inscrutable media mogul hellbent on exposing evidence of the "Antichrist" throughout the world. This mission leads J.R. to authoritarian political regimes such as Red Earth (the Soviet Union) but also other poisonous terrains like The Land of Shadows (Hollywood)it becomes all too clear that it is Roth's mission to chart the whole of civilization's slide into moral and political chaos. But herein lies the extraordinary strength and appeal of this work, as Roth is powerfully and even hilariously prescient. Mixing the diatribe with his trademark sardonic wit, he miraculously predicts the advent of the Holocaust, globalization, multimediaeven the paparazzi. Combining beautiful but savage writing with visual imagery out of a Coen Brothers movie, thisis an invaluable addition to the Roth canon in English.