Philip Roth on Life, Politics and Literary Legacy

Former American novelist reveals what he’s been doing since giving up writing back in 2010.
philiproth
Philip Roth

In an engaging email interview conducted by Charles McGrath of The New York Times, former American novelist Philip Roth reveals what he’s been doing since giving up writing back in 2010. He is in good health, and now spends most of his time living in his Upper West Side apartment in New York, meeting with friends and attending concerts — the Connecticut home where he wrote his novels remains unoccupied until the summer months. He has spent the past few years working closely with an official biographer, Blake Bailey, and supervising the final volume of the Library of America edition of his work.

The retired writer has also been watching the major developments unfolding across American culture. Roth identifies the current political moment in America as unprecedented in its history, and doesn’t mince words when describing the current President of the United States: he calls him a “massive fraud” who is “devoid of everything but the hollow ideology of a megalomaniac”. Roth also says that he was unsurprised by the abuses of power revealed in the wake of the MeToo movement.

What does Philip Roth do now that he is no longer writing? He reads. Not so much fiction anymore, but histories, biographies, and essay collections. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Teju Cole are among the writers he cites.

The New York Times also reports that David Simon (The Wire) is producing a mini-series based on Roth’s alternate-history novel, The Plot Against America.

Read the full interview over at The New York Times website.

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