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Four short books
Philip Roth Writer
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So now I've written The Plot Against America and I've written The Dying Animal for Kepesh, and I've written Exit Ghost for Zuckerman – what am I left with?  I'm left with four books that I wrote independently of one another, those short books — I mentioned that Saul only laughed when I asked him how did he do it, and so I had to find out how to do it.  And it was... it's strange doing it because you, you're looking for the impact, where is the impact supposed to come from?

Maybe I'm more troubled by this than others, but I think I'd spent so many years writing long books that I didn't know where does the kick come from, you know?  So they were… let's see, what are they called, those books?  The most recent was Nemesis, and the one before that was The Humbling, the one before that was Indignation, and the one before that I can't remember — it'll come to me. Everyman. Everyman, Everyman, Everyman

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: The Plot Against America, The Dying Animal, Exit Ghost for Zuckerman, Kepesh, Nemesis, The Humbling, Indignation, Everyman

Duration: 1 minute, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2011

Date story went live: 18 March 2013