Review: "Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books", By Claudia Roth Pierpont | The IndependentThey met for coffee, became friends, and Roth made her one of the privileged few to whom he shows new work before publication, who are expected to tell him, in effect, what his…. Get The International Pack for free for your first 30 days for unlimited Smartphone and Tablet access. Already a member? Log in. Already a subscriber or registered access user? Subscription Notification. We have noticed that there is an issue with your subscription billing details.
Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books by Claudia Roth Pierpont – review
As if to commemorate that event, Claudia Roth Pierpont—no relation, but a good friend and a superb writer—has produced this brilliant literary biography, Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books. Roth, as anyone who has met him can tell you, is an amazingly charming man. One can sense this on every page of Roth Unbound. Scholars have put him in the category of confessional novelists. But Roth was also hiding his true self, and his elaborate variations on the authorial voice of the narrator became his post-modern literary signature.
Kafka, in his lifetime, published two books; Frank, in hers, published none; Roth debuted with Goodbye, Columbus in and announced his retirement 25 novels later with Nemesis in Pierpont assures us that though she is not related to Roth, she has produced this study of his fiction with his collaboration. When they came up to him in the street, that's what they saw, it seemed to him, that's whom they were congratulating. It is as if Roth doesn't think it makes much difference that Our Gang , his humourless Nixon pastiche, and The Great American Novel , his fussy and precious baseball picaresque, are still available as they were written. Still, with each of Pierpont's chapters centred on a certain book, pure fun salaciousness just isn't feasible. Imagine Roth approaching his 80th birthday laden with awards and honorary degrees, globally translated, universally read, his talent having triumphed over every adversity: mental breakdown, heart ailment, rabbinic orthodoxy, feminism. Roth, it seems, is back, and once again he is begging to be punished.
Book Review // Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books
Philip Roth is one of the most renowned writers of our time. And yet there has been no major critical work about him until now.
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Philip Roth must have been plagued more than any other writer with this dumbest of demands. For he writes out of his native Newark, sends his characters to his own high school, makes novelists his narrators, and calls one of his characters Philip Roth. After his second wife, the actress Claire Bloom, wrote a tell-all memoir of their marriage, he wrote an answering novel, in which an actress writes a memoir of her failed marriage to a radio star. Sooner or later there will be a biography. Pierpont met Roth in A couple of years later she received a letter from him responding to a New Yorker article she had written.