Philip Roth
Novelist
Philip Roth
Philip Milton Roth is an American novelist. He first gained attention with the 1959 novella Goodbye, Columbus, an irreverent and humorous portrait of American-Jewish life for which he received the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.
Biography
Philip Roth's personal information overview.
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Amazon Is Running Out Of Dystopian Books That Eerily Reflect Our Present Political Moment
Huffington Post - 20 days
function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here. Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism.  One by one, classic books depicting dystopian dictatorships ― and the factors that allow such governments to “happen here” ― have been shooting to the top of Amazon’s hourly-updated best-seller lists, and, in some cases, selling out on the site, leaving publishers rushing to fulfill demand. It’s a fitting sequel to the dire l ...
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Huffington Post article
Orwell, Hitler And Trump
The Huffington Post - 28 days
Last week, I reached for my Philip Roth ― his splendid novel, The Plot Against America. This week, I reached for my George Orwell. In 1946, as Europe was digging out from the ruin of World War II – a genuine case of mass carnage as opposed to Donald Trump’s fantasy carnage – Orwell wrote the classic essay on the seductions of propaganda, “Politics and the English Language.” More...
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The Huffington Post article
First Nighter: Sholem Asch's Inflammatory 1923 "God of Vengeance" at La Mama, Jonny Donahoe's Adorable "Every Brilliant Thing" on HBO
Huffington Post - about 2 months
There are two immediately pressing reasons to see Sholem Asch's God of Vengeance, currently produced by the New Yiddish Rep at La MaMa. The first is historical curiosity. This is the 1906 play that scandalized theater-going Jews and others at its 1923 production for depicting a lesbian relationship. Included in it--horror of horrors!--was a first-time on-stage same-sex kiss. The second, and related, reason to rush out is that this is the controversial work serving as the inspiration for Indecent, Paula Vogel's inspiring retroactive look at the original production. Vogel's top-drawer undertaking, co-created and also directed by Rebecca Taichman, appeared at the Vineyard earlier this season and will open on Broadway in April with obvious Tony consideration intentions. Not a bad bet for one, either. Along with these persuasive motives to attend the revival, there are a few reasons not to attend. Although I don't rate them sufficiently persuasive to stay away, they need to be ...
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Huffington Post article
Is Author Philip Roth's Book Collection What Newark Public Library Needs?
NPR - 2 months
Acclaimed author Philip Roth has chosen to donate his personal book collection to the struggling Newark Public Library. But some question whether books are what make a library relevant in 2016.
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NPR article
The key to adapting Phillip Roth's 'American Pastoral'? Focusing on the father-daughter story
LATimes - 3 months
More than a dozen years ago, when producers first approached me to adapt Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “American Pastoral” for the screen, I was sure I must be the wrong writer. After all, I had read it when it first came out, at a time when I was already a professional screenwriter — and...
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LATimes article
Philip Guston and His Barbed-Pen Nixon Years
NYTimes - 4 months
Guston and his friend Philip Roth made Richard M. Nixon the object of satire. Scores of Guston’s Nixon drawings will be featured in a show at Hauser & Wirth.
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NYTimes article
Encino Man
Huffington Post - 4 months
By no grand design, the last two books I've read--Philip Roth's American Pastoral and Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run--while disparate in tone and content, both use the story of richly detailed, postwar New Jersey upbringings to tell the story of mid-century America. Both books by my heroes left me in awe and with a classic case of writer's schadenfreude. (For the record, that's different from Shonda-freude, which is writer's envy about not having a show on ABC's Thursday night lineup). In my case, my envy wasn't just about their prodigious storytelling talents or anger that they were able to get past page three of writing a book (though that's obviously part of it. Have we met?). But for me, the real envy came from their richly detailed sense of place. Whether it's the kosher butcher shops or glove factories of Jewish Newark or the emotional bipolarity of the mixed Italian-Irish homes of Freehold or the girls in their summer clothes walking the boardwalk in mid 60's Asbury, th ...
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Huffington Post article
Movie Review: American Pastoral...an Indictment of Marriage
Huffington Post - 4 months
It's about time. Ever wonder what your life would be like if you did not marry him or her? Ever listen to a snore next to you and wish you were alone? This film is for you. The perfect Miss America ...Jennifer Connelly, marries the champion high school athlete, Ewan Mac Gregor. They have a perfect blonde baby, Dakota Fanning, and have a perfect home in country. Well, the baby is not so perfect and has a stutter. The perfect Miss America has a breakdown and reveals she never wanted to marry, but wanted a career. And your stomach turns as you may recall moments in your life similar to Ewan Mac Gregor and Jennifer Connallys. This film is not a comedy. Connelly delivers a painfully accurate portrait of a wife on the brink. Mac Gregor is like the Salesman in Death of a Salesman, but without the struggle, only the tic toc precision of accomplishment.in a capitalistic society that worships financial gain and rising to the top . Money honey as his family disintegrates around him. Ma ...
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Huffington Post article
FACE IT: On Being Sort Of Jewish
Huffington Post - 4 months
I have always prided myself on being a Jew, but not that kind of Jew. When I was growing up, there was never a seder, my brothers were not barmitzvahs, and the only gefilte fish I ate was when I visited my grandmother. My idea of Jewish was no Christmas tree. Yet my father was a principled and cultured philanthropist and when he died, his best friend--a rabbi--said he had lost the "most Jewish man he ever knew." Judaism has been on my mind lately for a few reasons. I traveled this past summer to Germany, Hungary and Poland, spending countless hours weeping at Auschwitz, appreciating Berlin's guilt- filled memorials, and staring at hundreds of bronzed shoes on the banks of the Danube: worn by helpless Jews just before they were thrown to their deaths. I also visited the Jewish ghettos, which, in places like Budapest, have been turned into trendy areas replete with "ruin bars." Many other cities around the world boast similarly hip transformations, from Rome's Trastevere ...
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Huffington Post article
Setting New Goals for the New Year
Huffington Post - 5 months
Teshuvah usually means returning to our goals of incrementally becoming better people. Sometimes though, we have a realization and recognize the need to change our goals. We suddenly see clearly that the goal we were striving towards is no longer what we want or what the world needs from us. This can happen in interpersonal relationships. Sometimes we are in a broken relationship with a friend or family which we try constantly to fix. We apologize. We cultivate compassion. We pray about it in services. We reach out over and over. Sometimes these connections heal in time, but sometimes we realize that we have grown apart. Sometimes we see that the relationships are were toxic and that continuing to pursue them is making us sick. Sometimes the same thing happens in our relationship with ourselves. We strive to look a certain way, weigh a certain amount, or be able to hit that high note. For years, I practiced yoga, I stretched and I stretched, went to class after cl ...
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Huffington Post article
We’re Way Too Hard On Female Characters, Hollywood Screenwriter Explains
Huffington Post - 5 months
When Kara Holden read Carrie Pilby, a novel about a teenage girl who navigates first forays into dating and sex armed only with her own neuroses and stiff morality, she knew she wanted to make it into a movie. A screenwriter who got her start selling a script called “The Inner Bitch” to Paramount, Holden is interested in young adult stories and stories that shine a light on their character’s flaws, allowing them room for growth. Carrie Pilby, a young adult novel with a quirky, genius heroine, is that kind of story. “I got the book, I read it, and I was just blown away by it. I love that the character started out thinking she knew what the world was, and over the course of the book she learned that the world is so much more complicated,” Holden told HuffPost. “She kind of had a black-and-white mentality, and discovered that there was a lot more grey in the world. I’m a big fan of J.D. Salinger, and Franny and Zooey, so obviously I was never going to adapt Catcher in the Rye, but ...
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Huffington Post article
Zero K by Don DeLillo – profound and beautiful
Guardian (UK) - 9 months
Mortality is at the heart of this powerful new novel set in a cryonics lab – Don DeLillo’s best work since Underworld Don DeLillo’s late period work, which we can date from 2001’s The Body Artist, has been marked by novels that are slim, stark, conceptual, and that seem designed to provide as few of the traditional satisfactions of the form as possible. Endings are left untied, characters nameless and one-dimensional, plots thin and haphazard. After maximalist, wholehearted novels such as Libra, White Noise and Underworld, DeLillo’s austere, mindful, laconic late novellas feel, like those of Philip Roth, as if they’re trying to deconstruct the machinery of fiction, to back away from the world. Zero K initially seems like a break from the abstruse and impressionistic recent work. We are plunged into a vividly realised world: an underground cryonics laboratory called the Convergence, situated in a place where Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan meet, a “harsh geography, beyond the limi ...
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Guardian (UK) article
In Defense of Prince
Huffington Post - 10 months
The latest news about Prince is that he was getting help from experts in dealing with addiction to pain killers. But as soon as he died, I read lots of on-line speculation about him being a drug abuser. Today I read that his death was the kind of thing you would expect, given his "lifestyle." Well the facts aren't in and maybe we'll never know all of them. But everybody who's lived with chronic pain knows enough. And if they're Prince fans, their hearts are likely broken all over again imagining how Prince apparently suffered and how help came too late. They know what it's like to have to do more than just function but be at your very best when you can't count on getting enough sleep and you're perpetually exhausted. When the pain is so terrible you feel like a wolf caught in a trap. You're frantic, maybe even feeling crazed inside--and if you could chew that leg off somehow, you would. The medication doesn't always work, or when it does, it can have debilitat ...
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Huffington Post article
All The Book Adaptations You're Going To Want To See Next Year
Huffington Post - about 1 year
It’s looking like 2016 will not be the year the Salinger estate relents to a Catcher in the Rye adaptation, which is bad for the closet Caulfield devotees among us. There’s good news, too, though: so many great books are getting the on-screen treatment next year that it’s hard to pick just 20 to spotlight. We’ll assume you’re aware of the next installments of ongoing series like "Divergent" and "The Maze Runner"; here’s what else to look out for. “The BFG” based on the book by Roald Dahl Steven Spielberg morphs a beloved kids’ book into a movie starring Shakespearean stage actor Mark Rylance as the BFG, and Bill Hader as Bloodbottler. Ruby Barnhill will play Sophie, which is also the name of Dahl’s granddaughter. An earlier, lovely cartoon adaptation of the book might be tough to top. (July 1, 2016) “The Girl on the Train” based on the book by Paula Hawkins  Hawkins’ novel was hailed as the next Gone Girl, but without the now-famous “Cool Girl” rant or any ...
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Huffington Post article
British Writer Imagines Nazis Winning WW II
Huffington Post - over 1 year
The American poet John Greenleaf Whittier wrote that the saddest words are "It might have been." But writers of alternative history fiction would disagree. What's more exciting than turning history upside down? The Man in the High Castle, SS-GB, Fatherland, and Dominion are just a few of the fascinating novels that have pictured a victorious Germany in World War II. Tony Schumacher's debut thriller The Darkest Hour gives the story an exciting twist by making its hero an actual war hero. John Henry Rossett, a former policeman, is known as "The British Lion" for his courageous struggles against the Nazis, but a cop once again, he's now been ordered into the German unit rounding up English Jews for transportation to Poland. He follows orders. He knows what he's doing is wrong and doesn't want to know where the Jews are really going. Like most other people in London and England, he's heard rumors about what happens to them in Poland. But he doesn't really care. Yet. He's ...
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Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Philip Roth
    FORTIES
  • 2014
    In 2014, filmmaker Alex Ross Perry made Listen Up Philip, which was influenced by Roth's art.
    More Details Hide Details The above four books are collected as Zuckerman Bound)
  • 2013
    On March 19, 2013, Roth's 80th birthday was celebrated in public ceremonies at the Newark Museum.
    More Details Hide Details Eight of Philip Roth's novels and short stories have been adapted as films: Goodbye, Columbus; Portnoy's Complaint; The Human Stain; The Dying Animal, which was adapted as the movie Elegy; The Humbling; Indignation; and the upcoming American Pastoral. In addition, The Ghost Writer was adapted for television in 1984.
  • 2012
    In 2012 he received the Prince of Asturias Award for literature.
    More Details Hide Details
  • THIRTIES
  • 2009
    In 2009, he was awarded the Welt-Literaturpreis of the German newspaper Die Welt. Roth was awarded the 42nd Edward MacDowell Medal by the MacDowell Colony in 2001. Roth was awarded the 2010 National Humanities Medal by U.S. President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House on March 2, 2011.
    More Details Hide Details In May 2011, Roth was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement in fiction on the world stage, the fourth winner of the biennial prize. One of the judges, Carmen Callil, a publisher of the feminist Virago house, withdrew in protest, referring to Roth's work as "Emperor's clothes". She said "he goes on and on and on about the same subject in almost every single book. It's as though he's sitting on your face and you can't breathe... I don’t rate him as a writer at all ". Observers quickly noted that Callil had a conflict of interest, having published a book by Claire Bloom (Roth's ex-wife) which had criticized Roth and lambasted their marriage together. In response, one of the two other Booker judges, Rick Gekoski, remarked: In 1959 he writes Goodbye, Columbus and it's a masterpiece, magnificent. Fifty-one years later he's 78 years old and he writes Nemesis and it is so wonderful, such a terrific novel... Tell me one other writer who 50 years apart writes masterpieces... If you look at the trajectory of the average novel writer, there is a learning period, then a period of high achievement, then the talent runs out and in middle age they start slowly to decline. People say why aren't Martin Amis and Julian Barnes getting on the Booker prize shortlist, but that's what happens in middle age.
  • 2007
    In April 2007, he was chosen as the recipient of the first PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.
    More Details Hide Details The May 21, 2006 issue of The New York Times Book Review announced the results of a letter that was sent to what the publication described as "a couple of hundred prominent writers, critics, editors and other literary sages, asking them to please identify 'the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years.'" Six of Roth's novels were in the 22 selected: American Pastoral, The Counterlife, Operation Shylock, Sabbath's Theater, The Human Stain, and The Plot Against America. The accompanying essay, written by critic A.O. Scott, stated, "If we had asked for the single best writer of fiction of the past 25 years, Roth would have won."
  • 2006
    In May 2006, he was given the PEN/Nabokov Award, and in 2007 he was awarded the PEN/Faulkner award for Everyman, making him the award's only three-time winner.
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  • 2005
    He was honored in his hometown in October 2005 when then-mayor Sharpe James presided over the unveiling of a street sign in Roth's name on the corner of Summit and Keer Avenues where Roth lived for much of his childhood, a setting prominent in The Plot Against America.
    More Details Hide Details A plaque on the house where the Roths lived was also unveiled.
  • 2004
    His 2004 novel The Plot Against America won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History in 2005 as well as the Society of American Historians’ James Fenimore Cooper Prize.
    More Details Hide Details Roth was also awarded the United Kingdom's WH Smith Literary Award for the best book of the year, an award Roth has received twice.
  • 2002
    In 2002, he was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
    More Details Hide Details Literary critic Harold Bloom has named him as one of the four major American novelists still at work, along with Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, and Cormac McCarthy.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1997
    Two of Roth's works have won the National Book Award for Fiction; four others were finalists. Two have won National Book Critics Circle awards; again, another five were finalists. He has also won three PEN/Faulkner Awards (Operation Shylock, The Human Stain, and Everyman) and a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel, American Pastoral.
    More Details Hide Details In 2001, The Human Stain was awarded the United Kingdom's WH Smith Literary Award for the best book of the year.
  • 1990
    In 1990, Roth married his long-time companion, English actress Claire Bloom. In 1994 they separated, and in 1996 Bloom published a memoir, Leaving a Doll's House, which described the couple's marriage in detail, much of which was unflattering to Roth.
    More Details Hide Details Certain aspects of I Married a Communist have been regarded by critics as veiled rebuttals to accusations put forth in Bloom's memoir.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1969
    His profile rose significantly in 1969 after the publication of the controversial Portnoy's Complaint, the humorous and sexually explicit psychoanalytical monologue of "a lust-ridden, mother-addicted young Jewish bachelor," filled with "intimate, shameful detail, and coarse, abusive language."
    More Details Hide Details
  • OTHER
  • 1963
    In response, Roth, in his 1963 essay "Writing About Jews" (collected in Reading Myself and Others), maintained that he wanted to explore the conflict between the call to Jewish solidarity and his desire to be free to question the values and morals of middle-class Jewish Americans uncertain of their identities in an era of cultural assimilation and upward social mobility:
    More Details Hide Details The cry 'Watch out for the goyim!' at times seems more the expression of an unconscious wish than of a warning: Oh that they were out there, so that we could be together here! A rumor of persecution, a taste of exile, might even bring with it the old world of feelings and habits—something to replace the new world of social accessibility and moral indifference, the world which tempts all our promiscuous instincts, and where one cannot always figure out what a Jew is that a Christian is not. In Roth's fiction, the exploration of "promiscuous instincts" within the context of Jewish-American lives, mainly from a male viewpoint, plays an important role. In the words of critic Hermione Lee: Philip Roth's fiction strains to shed the burden of Jewish traditions and proscriptions.... The liberated Jewish consciousness, let loose into the disintegration of the American Dream, finds itself deracinated and homeless. American society and politics, by the late sixties, are a grotesque travesty of what Jewish immigrants had traveled towards: liberty, peace, security, a decent liberal democracy.
  • 1960
    Roth's first book, Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories, won the National Book Award in 1960, and afterwards he published two novels, Letting Go and When She Was Good.
    More Details Hide Details The publication of his fourth novel, Portnoy's Complaint, in 1969 gave Roth widespread commercial and critical success. During the 1970s Roth experimented in various modes, from the political satire Our Gang to the Kafkaesque The Breast. By the end of the decade Roth had created his alter ego Nathan Zuckerman. In a series of highly self-referential novels and novellas that followed between 1979 and 1986, Zuckerman appeared as either the main character or an interlocutor. Sabbath's Theater (1995) may have Roth's most lecherous protagonist, Mickey Sabbath, a disgraced former puppeteer; it won his second National Book Award. In complete contrast, American Pastoral (1997), the first volume of his so-called second Zuckerman trilogy, focuses on the life of virtuous Newark star athlete Swede Levov and the tragedy that befalls him when Levov's teenage daughter is transformed into a domestic terrorist during the late 1960s; it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. I Married a Communist (1998) focuses on the McCarthy era. The Human Stain examines identity politics in 1990s America. The Dying Animal (2001) is a short novel about eros and death that revisits literary professor David Kepesh, protagonist of two 1970s works, The Breast and The Professor of Desire.
  • 1959
    Between the end of his studies and the publication of his first book in 1959, Roth served two years in the United States Army and then wrote short fiction and criticism for various magazines, including movie reviews for The New Republic.
    More Details Hide Details Events in Roth's personal life have occasionally been the subject of media scrutiny. A post-operative breakdown mentioned in the pseudo-confessional novel Operation Shylock (1993) and others drew on Roth's experience of the temporary side-effects of the sedative halcion (triazolam), prescribed post-operatively in the 1980s. (It was subsequently discovered that unfavorable studies had been suppressed by triazolam's manufacturer, Upjohn, which showed the drug carried a high risk of causing short term psychiatric disturbance. When this became known, the drug was banned in some countries and its withdrawal due to high risk and poor clinical benefit was also discussed in the United States.) On his religious views, Roth is an atheist, stating: "When the whole world doesn't believe in God, it'll be a great place." He also said during an interview to The Guardian: "I'm exactly the opposite of religious, I'm anti-religious. I find religious people hideous. I hate the religious lies. It's all a big lie." and "It's not a neurotic thing, but the miserable record of religion. I don't even want to talk about it, it's not interesting to talk about the sheep referred to as believers. When I write, I'm alone. It's filled with fear and loneliness and anxiety—and I never needed religion to save me."
  • 1956
    While at Chicago, Roth met the novelist Saul Bellow, as well as Margaret Martinson in 1956, who became his first wife in 1959.
    More Details Hide Details Their separation in 1963, along with Martinson's death in a car crash in 1968, left a lasting mark on Roth's literary output. Specifically, Martinson was the inspiration for female characters in several of Roth's novels, including Lucy Nelson in When She Was Good, and Maureen Tarnopol in My Life as a Man.
  • 1955
    He pursued graduate studies at the University of Chicago, where he received an M.A. in English literature in 1955 and worked briefly as an instructor in the university's writing program.
    More Details Hide Details Roth taught creative writing at the University of Iowa and Princeton University. He continued his academic career at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught comparative literature before retiring from teaching in 1991.
  • 1950
    He graduated from Newark's Weequahic High School in or around 1950. "It has provided the focus for the fiction of Philip Roth, the novelist who evokes his era at Weequahic High School in the highly acclaimed Portnoy's Complaint.
    More Details Hide Details Besides identifying Weequahic High School by name, the novel specifies such sites as the Empire Burlesque, the Weequahic Diner, the Newark Museum and Irvington Park, all local landmarks that helped shape the youth of the real Roth and the fictional Portnoy, both graduates of Weequahic class of '50." The Weequahic Yearbook (1950) describes Roth as "A boy of real intelligence, combined with wit and common sense." Roth was known as a comedian during his time at school. Roth attended Bucknell University, earning a degree in English.
  • 1940
    In The Plot Against America (2004), Roth imagines an alternative American history in which Charles Lindbergh, aviator hero and isolationist, is elected U.S. president in 1940, and the U.S. negotiates an understanding with Hitler's Nazi Germany and embarks on its own program of anti-Semitism.
    More Details Hide Details Roth's novel Everyman, a meditation on illness, aging, desire, and death, was published in May 2006. For Everyman Roth won his third PEN/Faulkner Award, making him the only person so honored. Exit Ghost, which again features Nathan Zuckerman, was released in October 2007. According to the book's publisher, it is the last Zuckerman novel. Indignation, Roth's 29th book, was published on September 16, 2008. Set in 1951, during the Korean War, it follows Marcus Messner's departure from Newark to Ohio's Winesburg College, where he begins his sophomore year. In 2009, Roth's 30th book The Humbling was published, which told the story of the last performances of Simon Axler, a celebrated stage actor. Roth’s 31st book, Nemesis, was published on October 5, 2010. According to the book's notes, Nemesis is the final in a series of four "short novels," which also included Everyman, Indignation and The Humbling.
  • 1933
    Born on March 19, 1933.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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