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August 25, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

PATRIMONY: A True Story by Philip Roth (Vintage: $12.; 238 pp.). Roth won a second National Book Critics' Circle Award for his account of his father's final illness. A difficult, demanding man, Roth's father was found to have a massive brain tumor at 86. The debate over the appropriate therapy forced the author to examine the troubled relations between first-generation Americans and their fully assimilated children. Roth lightens his potentially tragic story with good humor, including the often absurd arguments family members wage. The result is a moving yet ironic account of two men coming to grips with mortality.

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