<Portnoy’s Complaint (Random House, 1969)
Portnoy’s Complaint is the novel by
American author Philip Roth that made him
a household name. This controversial
sexually explicit novel is a psychoanalytical monologue of a “lust-ridden, mother-
addicted young Jewish bachelor.” It is full of intimate and shameful details and coarse, abusive language. One of the most intriguing questions surrounding the book is how much is fiction and how much is autobiographical? Due to the detailed passages on
masturbation and its explicit language, Portnoy’s Complaint was banned from many American libraries. In 1972, the novel was adapted into a movie starring Richard Benjamin and Karen Black.