4 out of 5: At its core, Indignation is about how “one’s most banal, incidental, even comical choices achieve the most disproportionate result.” Marcus Messner, son of a kosher butcher and a student at a small, conservative college, is an outsider. Weighed down with an intense and paranoid personality, Marcus is wholly focused on getting all A’s and avoiding death in the Korean War. His intensity and ideology result in dire consequences.
Like a short story, Indignation is written with laser beam precision. A substantial majority of the book is composed of lengthy, angry speeches that are almost (though not quite) absurdly eloquent. Just about every character gets one (and some get many) of these pitch-perfect speeches, which read so swiftly the book is over before it’s barely begun. Indignation reads like a fast-paced script and a good one at that.
Not surprisingly, the movie rights to Indignation have already been acquired by Scott Rudin, who made the seven-figure deal immediately after reading Roth’s novel. In a story reported by Variety, Rudin comments, “I've been a maniacal fan of Roth's for years and waited for the one I thought could really be a great movie. It has remarkable movie potential.” I agree wholeheartedly.