J. M. Coetzee on Philip Roth's 'Nemesis': "A good education, and not just for older persons: how to dig a grave, how to write, how to face death, all in one." "Set in Newark in the polio summer of 1944 (19,000 cases nationwide), thereby placing himself in a line of writers who have used the plague condition to explore the resolve of human beings and the durability of their institutions under attack by an invisible, inscrutable, and deadly force. In this respect — as Defoe, Camus, and Roth are aware — the plague condition is simply a heightened state of the condition of being mortal."