Philip Roths Nemesis appears on the most recent edition of 1001 books you must read before you die, but it reads like an old-fashioned story. The narrator keeps a respectful distance as he relates the story of Mr. Cantor, the young Newark, New Jersey playground director whose life is forever altered by a polio outbreak during the scorching summer of 1944. The rich, lyrical prose in this small hardcover edition makes the story flow and strikes some strong emotional chords towards the end. The story makes the reader think about what the title refers to: a frightening disease with no rhyme, reason, or cure? a God that allows profound suffering to exist? or a deeply held, dysfunctional set of beliefs, values, or emotions? Evoking a bygone era, Nemesis was a worthwhile read for me, but some might find this intense character study a bit slow and bland.