Monday, September 16, 2013

A Writer Looks at 80




I guess you might call this a birthday present, as Philip Roth celebrated his 80th not that long ago at the Billy Johnson Auditorium at Newark Museum.  He appears to be the pre-eminent American author today, although you could probably make a case for the reclusive Thomas Pynchon as well.

I've read a handful of Roth novels over the years, most recently his tale of growing up middle-class Jewish in New Jersey, American Pastoral, and the moral cost of this affluence.   I guess my favorite remains Goodbye, Columbus.  I suppose it was because it was more personal, and less ambitious than his later novels, which struck me as having a bit of a false note. The short stories were pulled together into a great film.  He loved to poke fun at the Jewish experience, which often ran him afoul of Jewish critics.

The book is due out in late October, which is shaping up to be quite a month for history and biography books.

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