Search Results

Advanced Search

1 to 15 of 140 results

Sort by:

Filter by:

Contributors

Article Types

Authors

Subjects

Philip Roth talks about his work

Philip Roth, 5 March 1987

... Many critics and reviewers persist in writing about Roth rather than his fiction. Why this persistence after all these years?If that’s so, it may have to do with the intensity with which my fiction has focused upon the self-revealing dilemmas of a single, central character whose biography, in certain obvious details, overlaps with mine, and who is then assumed ‘to be’ me ...
... Aharon Appelfeld lives a few miles west of Jerusalem in a maze-like conglomeration of attractive stone dwellings directly next to an ‘absorption centre’, where immigrants are temporarily housed, schooled and prepared for life in their new society. The arduous journey that landed Appelfeld on the beaches of Tel Aviv in 1946, at the age of 14, seems to have fostered an unappeasable fascination with all uprooted souls, and at the local grocery where he and the absorption centre residents do their shopping, he will often initiate an impromptu conversation with an Ethiopian, or a Russian, or a Rumanian Jew still dressed for the climate of a country to which he or she will never return ...
... can prove useful not to be pure. If I may return to the question: don’t you feel yourself, you Philip Roth, ‘rooted’ in your country, and at the same time ‘a mustard grain’? In your books I perceive a sharp mustard flavour. I think this is the meaning of your quotation from Arnaldo Momigliano. Italian Jews (but the same can be said of the Jews ...

Pictures of Malamud

Philip Roth, 8 May 1986

... Mourning is a hard business,’ Cesare said. ‘If people knew there’d be less death.’ From Malamud’s ‘Life is Better than Death’ In February 1961 I travelled west from Iowa City, where I was teaching in the Writers’ Workshop of the university and finishing a second book, to give a lecture called ‘Writing American Fiction’ at a small community college in Monmouth, Oregon ...

Philip Roth in Israel

Julian Barnes, 5 March 1987

The Counterlife 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 336 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 224 02871 5
Show More
Show More
... Philip Roth’s new novel is marvellously rich, boisterously serious, dense, fizzing and formally audacious. More than with most novels, to review it is to betray it. This isn’t inappropriate, since one of Roth’s abiding themes is fiction’s betrayal of life and the novelist’s treachery to those who surround him ...

‘OK, holy man, try this

Ian Hamilton: The Hypothetical Philip Roth, 22 June 2000

The Human Stain 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 361 pp., £16.99, May 2000, 0 224 06090 2
Show More
Show More
... Philip Roth likes, or has liked, to describe himself as a ‘suppositional’ novelist. Much of his writing practice, he has said, takes off from a ‘what if?’ What if Franz Kafka had made it to America and there lived on to become a New Jersey schoolmaster? What if Anne Frank had survived and found out about the publication of her diary from a chance reading of Time magazine? What if a man could actually become a breast? What if a decent, shamefaced Jewish boy were to extol the joys of masturbation? And what if we, Roth’s readers, could join in and ask, for instance, what if an earnest young Jewish novelist of the 1950s were to find himself unfairly chastised for his disloyalty to Jews? And what if this same novelist decided to respond by handing his chastisers something they could really, and fairly, get to work on? What if he were to zap them with Portnoy’s Complaint and proceed to sell half a million copies of said horror to the Gentiles? And what if he were then to find himself outlawed and reviled, not just by tribal religious types but even by wise, novel-reading intellectuals? What if one of these intellectuals were to call Portnoy ‘the book of which all anti-semites have been dreaming?’ And what if yet another were to dismiss this earnest young Jewish novelist of the 1950s as a mere pedlar of cheap gags? ‘The cruellest thing anybody can do to Portnoy’s Complaint is to read it twice,’ said Irving Howe – and this was just about the cruellest thing he could do to Philip Roth ...

Nicely! Nicely!

Jenny Turner, 13 May 1993

Operation Shylock 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 398 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 0 224 03009 4
Show More
Show More
... anything like me, you will find yourself having to fight off a sort of sinking feeling as the new Philip Roth comes thudding into your life. What If A Lookalike Stranger Stole Your Name, Usurped Your Biography, And Went Around The World Pretending To Be You? the jacket flap blares: oh God help us, here we go again. You know there will be a lot of ...

Philip Roth’s House of Fiction

Michael Mason, 6 December 1979

The Ghost Writer 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 180 pp., £4.95
Show More
Show More
... The Ghost Writer is Philip Roth’s best novel yet. Certainly it is his most ingenious. But this familiar way of putting things may contain a mistake, a mistake which is part of the subject-matter of Roth’s book. ‘Best novel yet’ implies a future of prosperous activity which may be barmecidal ...

Just Folks

Michael Wood: Philip Roth’s counter-historical bestseller, 4 November 2004

The Plot against America 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 391 pp., £16.99, September 2004, 0 224 07453 9
Show More
Show More
... Because what’s history?’ a character asks rhetorically in Philip Roth’s astonishing new novel. ‘History is everything that happens everywhere. Even here in Newark. Even here on Summit Avenue.’ And is history also what people are afraid of, even on Summit Avenue? In a material sense it can’t be, since we fear, by definition, what hasn’t happened yet ...

In the Egosphere

Adam Mars-Jones: The Plot against Roth, 23 January 2014

Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books 
by Claudia Roth Pierpont.
Cape, 353 pp., £25, January 2014, 978 0 224 09903 5
Show More
Show More
... Claudia Roth Pierpont met Philip Roth at a birthday party in 2002. She was a fan, but managed not to alienate him with clumsy enthusiasm. A couple of years later he sent her a photocopy of a newspaper article he thought she might be interested in. They met for coffee and became more relaxed with each other ...

Two Poems

Frederick Seidel, 11 April 2013

... at work in the Oval Office. The fireplace fire is lit with the air-conditioning on full blast. To Philip Roth, for His Eightieth I’m Mussolini, And the woman spread out on my enormous Duce desk looks teeny. The desk becomes an altar, sacred. The woman’s naked. I call the woman teeny only because I need the rhyme. The shock of naked looks huge on top ...

What the hell happened?

Alexander Star: Philip Roth, 4 February 1999

I Married a Communist 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 323 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 224 05258 6
Show More
Show More
... Some time ago, Philip Roth remarked that his novels investigate ‘people in trouble’. Though much about his work has changed over the years, his fictional landscapes are still littered with human wreckage. Rage and lust, anxiety and melancholy are the dominant emotions, and all human impulses, even loyalty and affection, tend to career wildly out of control ...

Dirty Jokes

Julian Symons, 13 September 1990

Brief Lives 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 217 pp., £12.95, August 1990, 0 224 02747 6
Show More
Deception 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 208 pp., £12.95, September 1990, 0 224 03000 0
Show More
Homeboy 
by Seth Morgan.
Chatto, 390 pp., £12.95, August 1990, 0 7011 3664 2
Show More
Show More
... for love.’ If Brookner writes about men as a species to be examined rather than understood, Philip Roth’s women are hardly more than receptacles for semen, emotional punching-bags or ministering angels. The fact that his novels have only one subject, Philip Roth, is made plainer than ever by ...

Whakapapa

D.A.N. Jones, 21 November 1985

The Prague Orgy 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 89 pp., £5.95, October 1985, 0 224 02815 4
Show More
Loyalties 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 378 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 7011 2843 7
Show More
Cousin Rosamund 
by Rebecca West.
Macmillan, 295 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 333 39797 5
Show More
The Battle of Pollocks Crossing 
by J.L. Carr.
Viking, 176 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 670 80559 9
Show More
The Bone People 
by Keri Hulme.
Hodder, 450 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 37024 6
Show More
Show More
... Security is the problem that exercises both Philip Roth and Raymond Williams. The sort of ‘security’ I mean is the sort that spreads a feeling of insecurity – a fear of surveillance, bugging, secret cameras, interrogation, the false smile of Mr Nice and the sincere snarl of Mr Nasty. Security men are sometimes clumsy and might cause us inconvenience through their category mistakes ...

I am disorder

Michael Wood, 19 October 1995

Sabbath’s Theater 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 451 pp., £15.99, October 1995, 0 224 03814 1
Show More
Show More
... Portnoy complained that his life was a Jewish joke, and Philip Roth himself once suggested that American reality beggared the imagination of even the most extravagant novelist. Who could have invented Eisenhower, he asked, and no sooner had he invented a caricature of Richard Nixon in Our Gang than Nixon turned out to be caricaturing himself in the same way, locker-room slang and all ...

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences