Philip Roth died yesterday at the age of 85. The LRB published nearly twenty pieces on his work, from Michael Mason on The Ghost Writer in 1979 to Tim Parks on Nemesis in 2010, and Roth himself made four contributions to the paper in the mid-1980s. Nicholas Spice on Everyman (2006): Reading Roth, when he is in the groove, is exhilarating because of the way one feels caught up in the swing and drive of the prose as it sweeps forward into the future of the text. His great interest has been in states of extreme mental and emotional excitation – notably rage and lust – and his writing has found a way to embody these states, whether in impassioned speech or wild interior monologue, with an intensity unrivalled in modern fiction.
Tomorrow morning, at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in Midtown Manhattan (and online at www.txauction.com), the US Marshals are selling off the assets of Bernie and Ruth Madoff. There's a preview today (until 7 p.m.) at a warehouse in the Brooklyn Navy Yard; some items are for ‘visual inspection’ only, but the feds will let you try on the jewellery. Madoff seems to have liked gold Patek Philippe watches, though I preferred a Rolex with a moonphase and a perpetual calendar in less gaudy stainless steel (lot 182, est. $60-70,000). The clothes wouldn’t fit me, though there are handsome ties from Charvet, and if you wear a size 8½ shoe you should pounce on lot 331: 16 pairs of John Lobb loafers with a low estimate of $1500, the price of a single new pair. There are lots of shoes. I counted more than 200 men’s pairs, including dozens unworn, to say nothing of slippers, running shoes and boots.
The Madoffs also had a library that is being sold en bloc,