In his 29th novel, Philip Roth sets his story in 1951, at the peak of the Cold War and the second year of the Korean War. Marcus Messner, a 19-year-old butcher’s son from Newark, New Jersey, transfers to Winesburg College in Ohio. History and the clash of Jewish and gentile cultures intersect, as Marcus negotiates his escape from an overprotective father. It wouldn’t be a Roth novel without a star-struck romance and Marcus’ affair with Olivia Hutton, a doctor’s daughter, is a doozy. So, why hasn’t Roth won the Nobel Prize for Literature? – M.S.