Tim Parks places Nemesis in the context of Roth's late work.
Since The Dying Animal in 2001 Roth has alternated between protagonists of his own age (The Dying Animal, Everyman, Exit Ghost, The Humbling) and young men on the brink of adulthood (Indignation, Nemesis). All were born around the same time as Roth, so that the novels of old age are set in the contemporary world and the novels of young adulthood in the 1940s and 1950s. Each of these short books offers a new take on what is essentially the same plot: something happens out of the blue and a state of fear is induced (in The Humbling Axler has lost his acting talent; in Nemesis there is a polio epidemic); the fear heightens the desire to live. In particular, it heightens the erotic drive: ‘I was determined to have intercourse before I died,’ Marcus says in Indignation. Eros and Thanatos are never allowed to lose sight of each other; and will eventually be brought into sharp juxtaposition as the story closes in catastrophe; having dreamed of a connubial happiness that might reconcile him to lost artistic powers, Axler is abandoned by his new woman and promptly kills himself.