“The novelist's obsession, moment by moment, is with language: finding the right next word. “ – Philip Roth
Born on this date in 1933, Roth jumped into a writing career with a bang, his first book, Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories, winning the National Book Award.
One of America’s most-honored writers, he has twice received the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award, and three times the PEN/Faulkner Award. His 1997 novel American Pastoral, which featured one of his best-known characters Nathan Zuckerman, earned him the Pulitzer Prize.
Roth's fiction, regularly set in his native Newark, New Jersey, is known for its intensely autobiographical character, and for philosophically and formally blurring the distinction between reality and fiction “Literature isn't a moral beauty contest,” Roth said. “Its power arises from the authority and audacity with which the impersonation is pulled off; the belief it inspires is what counts.” His 29 novels and 4 collections of stories – 8 of which have been adapted for movies – have done just that.
“It was my great problem to solve: how to write a book, you know,” he says about his ongoing striving to achieve. “And after you write one, you have to write another to prove to yourself you can do it again.”
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