Philip Roth Retires From Novel Writing, Age 79

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Philip Roth

According to a little-noticed article in a French magazine, Philip Roth has decided to retire from novel writing, so he can “reread his favourite novels, as well as his own books.”

Once considered America’s best hope for winning the Nobel Prize for literature, Roth has said that his most recent novel Nemesis would be his last and that he hasn’t written anything for three years.

I wanted to see if I had wasted my time writing," he said, according to a translation from the French by Salon. "And I thought it was rather successful. At the end of his life, the boxer Joe Louis said: 'I did the best I could with what I had.' This is exactly what I would say of my work: I did the best I could with what I had."

Having said he’d dedicated his life to the novel, to the exclusion of almost everything else, Roth finished.

Enough is enough! I no longer feel this fanaticism to write that I have experienced in my life," he said.

His first literary novel, Goodbye, Columbus, was published in 1959 and Roth has published more than 30 books since then. In 1969, his novel, Portnoy's Complaint, pushed him onto the international stage due to its graphic sexual descriptions.

Will he stick to his retirement - or should he? Well, he is 79…

Image of Nemesis (Vintage International)
Author: Philip Roth
Price: $15.16
Publisher: Vintage (2011)
Binding: Paperback, 304 pages
Dean Fetzer

News by Dean Fetzer

Dean Fetzer is originally from a small town in eastern Colorado, but has lived in London, England, for the past 21 years. After a career in graphic design, he started a pub review website in the late 90’s; He left that in 2011 to concentrate on his thriller writing, as well as offering publishing services for authors, poets and artists. When not writing - or in the pub - he can be found in the theatre, live music venues and travelling.

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Liana's picture
Liana from Romania and Texas is reading Naked Lunch November 13, 2012 - 11:23pm

Not a huge fans of his books because of his repetitive character choices and male-female interactions. But I've read some fantastic short stories - strangely, maybe he felt more freedom of topics, themes, and approach in short stories than in novels. Sometimes that happens. 
I recommend, for example, the short story "The Conversion of the Jews."