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Philip Roth: «There’s More to Life Than Writing»

philip roth biographyPhilip Roth, the world-famous fiction writer, remains true to his decision to leave literature. He finished his last book in 2009, and since that time, according to him, he hasn’t written a word. «I have no desire to write fiction» – insists Roth in his last interview. It is hard to believe, that a writer, whose talent helped him win the Man Booker International prize and who contended for the Nobel for ages, could quit writing so simply. But the author claims that his writing period of life has reached its end for good.

 

Why Would He Retire?

One of the primary reasons of Roth’s retirement is his intention to live for himself. He believes that his great work at fiction writing has come to an end, so now he can enjoy such pleasant activities as swimming, watching baseball, listening to music, meeting friends and relaxing. Also he is keen on studying American 19th century history, which is tightly bound with the past of his own family: that helps him stay focused and avoid depressive thoughts on writing, aging and death. 80-year-old Roth is completely satisfied with his new lifestyle – his only regret is that only now he discovered how different life can be.

 

American English Writer

Roth is often labeled as a Jewish American author, but the writer himself disagrees. He considers that it’s the language you choose for your works, which defines you as a writer. His writing language is American English, that is why he thinks of himself as of American English writer. Roth says, that even if he wrote his books in Yiddish, he would rather consider himself Yiddish writer than Jewish. By the way, the Jewish community does not quite appreciate his views on himself as of American English writer. Neither is it appealing to the Jews how he showed their national whims and flaws in some of his works. Some reviewers even suggested that he is a self-hating Jew. Nevertheless, Roth could not care less.

 

Say “No” to Book Clubs

What is interesting, Roth has told his interviewer, Stanford scholar Cynthia Haven, that he knows nothing about book clubs and that he doesn’t have any intention to visit book club meetings. He explained this prepossession with belief, based on his teaching experience, that it takes a lot of effort to read thoughtfully, and that book clubs are unlikely to offer effective manner to do it. The books, which visitors read in such literary “communities”, are hardly ever analyzed and interpreted in a proper manner.

 
It is quite clear, that Philip Roth feels well about dropping out of the writers’ community. And though it is good for the author himself, it is also sad: some people struggle to write something spectacular to the end of their lives and never succeed, and those, who are creative and skilled enough to write true masterpieces, just bury their talent.

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