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Zuckerman’s return


Enter Zuckerman
Philip Roth Writer
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What happened was after my four or so, visits to Prague, I began to think of an idea for a book in which a character, a writer would… who had enjoyed a kind of crazy success of the kind I had, then goes to Czechoslovakia and sees the consequences of their art, what happens to these people as a result of the political system and art clashing. So I began to write that and it didn't… it didn't work out, there was too much going on and so I thought, break it down into... into books, there's something wrong with what you're doing. This led me... this led me to writing the first four Zuckerman [Bound] books: The Ghost Writer, Zuckerman Unbound, The Anatomy Lesson and The Prague Orgy. The Prague Orgy is the book about Zuckerman's experiences in Prague, and everything up… everything else… excuse me, leads up… leads up to that, but what it leads up to it is substantial material, I think. So I... I was able to write the book I set out to write, a very different way from the way I had imagined it but this happens all the time.

The fame of the American writer Philip Roth (1933-2018) rested on the frank explorations of Jewish-American life he portrayed in his novels. There is a strong autobiographical element in much of what he wrote, alongside social commentary and political satire. Despite often polarising critics with his frequently explicit accounts of his male protagonists' sexual doings, Roth received a great many prestigious literary awards which include a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1997, and the 4th Man Booker International Prize in 2011.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Prague, Czechoslavakia, The Ghost Writer, Zuckerman Unbound, The Anatomy Lesson, The Prague Orgy

Duration: 1 minute, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2011

Date story went live: 18 March 2013