David Burr Gerrard’s new novel The Epiphany Machine is one of the more ambitious books you’ll read this year, centering on a device that can reveal the epiphany of your life by tattooing the words onto your arm. “ABANDONS WHAT MATTERS MOST” is just one example of the sort of permanent self-owns that get written on the flesh of characters in his funny and riveting novel....more
Posts Tagged: philip roth
Upon publication of his first novel, Balls, author Julian Tepper received pointed advice from one Philip Roth: quit. What the elder statesman, on the verge of his own retirement, was trying to say is that the writing life is “just torture,” and he should spare himself the suffering....more
At the Washington Post, Carlos Lozada compares Donald Trump with the fictional dictators of two novels that seem to uncannily anticipate the rise of today’s foul-mouthed “politician.” Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here (1935) and Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America (2004) both feature totalitarian politicians that will eerily remind readers of Trump’s policies and personality....more
Philip Roth’s retirement may well go down in history as one of the literary world’s greatest pranks.
Over at The Baffler, J.C. Hallman takes a look at whether the literary giant has actually retired, despite giving interviews and and participating in conferences and receiving awards—and whether the very idea of a writer retiring is “to cheapen that role.”...more
Superficially, Philip Roth and Paul Beatty might appear as polar opposites. But over at Forward, Hannah Assouline argues that Beatty could be Roth’s literary heir. Assouline calls Beatty’s latest novel, The Sellout, a “generation’s answer to Roth,” and compares the novel to Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint:
“The Sellout” — which concerns a California sociologist’s son brought before the Supreme Court for attempting to reinstitute slavery and segregation — is both a raucous satire and a deadly serious meditation on what we do and don’t talk about when we talk about race in America.
Art is problematic. Humans are problematic. Roxane Gay is a bad feminist. We know this, yet still we attack each other for liking Lil Wayne or Fifty Shades of Grey. Flavorwire‘s Sarah Seltzer wants us to stop telling women what they can and can’t like:
I wouldn’t abandon the practice of critiquing art for its political stance…But what I won’t say is: you’re a bad feminist if you like [Philip] Roth.
At The Millions, Jonathan Russell Clark analyzes several last sentences from well-known novels by Hemingway, Tolstoy, Morrison, and Roth. He pays particular attention to the craftsmanship necessary to write these sentences, and considers how last sentences work to reinforce larger themes within a novel:
For writers, the last sentences aren’t about reader responsibility at all — it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to stop worrying about what comes next, because nothing does.
Here’s why I think that Philip Roth and Cormac McCarthy are opposites: Roth is a builder, and McCarthy is a destroyer.
Over at the Ploughshares blog, Lily Meyerin tells us why she thinks that Philip Roth and Cormac McCarthy, named by Harold Bloom as two of the most important living American writers, should be considered “literary enemies.”...more
For T Magazine, seven authors reflect on the experience of revisiting and annotating their early works for an upcoming PEN American Center fundraiser. George Saunders thinks his style in CivilWarLand in Bad Decline was “manic and abrupt.” Jennifer Egan still regrets that she failed to include an Epic poetry chapter in A Visit From the Goon Squad....more
In support of his new memoir, Little Failure, Gary Shteyngart’s been touring the country. Lucky for us, he’s keeping a journal:
Philip Roth, in a 2000 interview with David Remnick in the pages of this magazine, speaks about the declining number of serious readers in America—he supposes it might even have dwindled to around five thousand.
Writer Lisa Scottoline was an English Major at University of Pennsylvania when she attended, in the 70s, two seminars with a very special teacher: Philip Roth.
Now, she tells on the New York Times’s Sunday Review what it was like to have her celebrity crush teaching the “Literature of Desire”—actually not so erotic, but still the learning experience of a lifetime....more
Does the “Great American Novel” actually exist—or is it just the name of a book by Philip Roth? Over at the New Yorker, you can read Adam Gopnik’s review of The Dream of the Great American Novel by Laurence Buell, and you can also listen to Elizabeth Gilbert, Adam Gopnik and Sasha Weiss discuss what the term has evolved to mean....more
In a piece flawlessly titled “Reading While Female: How to Deal With Misogynists and Male Masturbation,” four female writers talk to each other about how women in college try to make sense of the male-dominated literature they’re taking in....more
Exciting publishing news from the Onion, everyone!
No, really. Like, the man himself is bound in leather....more
“I don’t go down wrong paths, I’d rather stare at the screen and delete until I’ve put something down that is working. So, I don’t discard material; I don’t have a lot of false starts or unfinished stories or novels lying around....more