I heard the sad news today that Philip Roth has died (I don’t do euphemisms like ‘passed away’). That is a great shame. The world is all the poorer. He was a great writer and illuminator of the human condition. He wrote with great passion and vitality and shone a light on to the lives of us poor mortals with all our faults, trials and tribulations.
I already miss him.
I came to Philip Roth late in life. I tried reading him as a young man and could not get into him at all. In later years, with a bit more experience under my belt and a slower pace in which to appreciate the ideas, I tried again and loved it. I have recently devoured fabulous books such as The American Pastoral, The Human Stain, Portnoy’s Complaint, and the Plot Against America. I found that they were truly exhilarating.
Sitting at my side are two more of his books that I have recently purchased and are in line to devour – Sabbath’s Theatre and I Married a Communist. I shall be reading them now with a sadness for suddenly Philip Roth’s work has become finite. There are a limited number and no more will ever be added. He has written his last full stop.
Fortunately Philip had a long life, dying at 85, and wrote a lot so I have much to look forward to.
The sad thing is that, like many of my favourite writers whose every book I have read and reread, that extensive series will come to an end. One day I will have read them all.
The great thing is that his output was large and I still have many treats in store to enjoy, wonder at and be stimulated by.
Thank you Philip Roth. I wish the whole world was full of people like you!