The Magazine

Portnoy’s Children

A famous/notorious novel yields its progeny.

Aug 5, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 44 • By JOSEPH EPSTEIN
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The denouement of Portnoy’s Children entails both of Portnoy’s sons attempting comebacks after their disastrous scandals. Eliot is planning to start slowly on the road to rebuilding his career by running for New York comptroller; Anthony, a higher roller, runs for mayor of New York. Portnoy finds himself appalled by the effrontery, the sheer chutzpah, of his children. On Election Day, he votes against both his sons. On the last page of the novel, Alexander Portnoy, now 80 years old, goes back into psychoanalysis.

Joseph Epstein, a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard, is the author, with Frederic Raphael, of Distant Intimacy: A Friendship in the Age of the Internet.

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