Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Taking Up The Roth Challenge

I have nothing much to say about Philip Roth.   I read exactly two of his books.  Goodbye Columbus and Portnoy.  They didn't impress me much.  I don't think I've thought about him much except once or twice to tease straight guys with issues . . . "more issues than Alexander Portnoy."   I'm dubious that his work will endure. Most doesn't. 

There was the time when Dick Cavett quoted Roth criticizing Saul Bellows to Bellows, his response was "What hath Roth got?"  What, indeed? 


  1. Never caught the Roth bug. Too East Coast for me (worse than Updike, which is saying something).

    1. It's kind of hard for me to think of a novelist of that generation from the NE who ever did anything for me, and I live here. John Updike was the guy who convinced me there were entirely too many whiny novels and short stories about how hard it was to be an affluent, white, straight male.

      It's remarkable how many people who have big careers during their lifetime pretty much fizzle out not long after they're dead.

      Did you see the The PBS Great American Read "vote for America's Best Loved Novel" list? One of my sisters showed it to me. I gaped at most of them. I mean Tom Sawyer's on it as is Atlas Shrugged. the Twilight books, 50 Shades, The Da Vinci Code . . . give me a break.

    2. Actually, it was John Cheever who convinced me of it, Updike just confirmed it.

  2. I prefer Cheever. Him I understand as a subtle and profoundly religious writer. Until I saw that, I didn't appreciate him. Updike I can pretty much leave. I tried, but he didn't last.