In an interview with French magazine InRocks, American author Philip Roth has announced his resignation, saying "To tell you the truth, I'm done." Roth is one of America's greatest 20th century writers. He's won countless awards, including the Man Booker International Prize in 2011, the National Book award. the Pulizter and the Prince of Asturius prize for literature, earlier this year.
For a writer whose tenacity and skill has not waned during his career, having continued to push the novel's form to its boundaries and thus consistently pushing his readers in their own readership, this news comes as something of a surprise. Roth's style and content is largely post-modernist, and having been raised in a Jewish family, his novels have often included Jewish characters and concerns. In the French interview, translated by the Washington Post, Roth said "I have no intention to write for the next ten years. Quite frankly, I'm done," continuing "Enough is enough! I no longer feel this fanaticism to write that I have experienced in my life."
"And if I write another book, it will probably be a flop." He said, "Who needs to read another mediocre book? I'm 78, and I don't know anything about America today. I watch it on TV. But I no longer live it." Writing the news of Roth's retreat from writing is akin to writing a eulogy. It requires the highlights and lowlights of a person's life, and because Roth's life, as we know it, are his novels that's all of him we have- no more books, no more Roth. Despite not being dead, Roth's retirement from literature is, nonetheless, something to mourn.
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