Philip Roth

Philip Roth has died.

Do yourself a favour. Pick up one of his books, especially one written in the last twenty years. Read it.

He was one of the very few novelists who wrote for men, especially men over 50 years of age. Which is, dear reader, most likely you. A giant of a writer, and a master of seeing through bullshit.

From the obituary in the New York Times:

In his 60s, an age when many writers are winding down, he produced an exceptional sequence of historical novels — “American Pastoral,” “The Human Stain” and “I Married a Communist” — a product of his personal re-engagement with America and American themes. And starting with “Everyman” in 2006, when he was 73, he kept up a relentless book-a-year pace, publishing works that while not necessarily major were nevertheless fiercely intelligent and sharply observed. Their theme in one way or another was the ravages of age and mortality itself, and in publishing them Mr. Roth seemed to be defiantly staving off his own decline.

Mr. Roth was often lumped together with Bellow and Bernard Malamud as part of the “Hart, Schaffner & Marx of American letters,” but he resisted the label. “The epithet American-Jewish writer has no meaning for me,” he said. “If I’m not an American, I’m nothing.”