Philip Roth's five most important books

Philip Roth: A literary life in seven stages
Novelist Philip Roth has died

26 May, 2018

Roth once wrote that his novel was not meant to be a direct portrayal or a warning of current and future political times, but it has not prevented comparisons between the novel's plot and the current political climate in the US.

Literary giant Philip Roth's critical comments about President Donald Trump are being remembered following the author's death at the age of 85 on Tuesday.

In a career which spanned over five decades, Roth was a bestselling author only once: his most famous work, Portnoy's Complaint, sold 420,000 copies in the first 10 weeks after publication.

Roth won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his acclaimed novel American Pastoral.

His large body of work award Roth numerous prestigious awards and honors, including two National Book Critics Circle Awards, three PEN/Faulkner Awards, a WH Smith Literary Award and a Man Booker International Prize. He started his college education at the Newark branch of Rutgers University as a pre-law student, and eventually transferred to Bucknell College, where changed his major to literature.

Philip Roth I didn't know what a writer was, but I knew what books were because I would go to the Blanche library in our neighbourhood [of Newark, New Jersey], following the example of my brother, who would come home with half a dozen books.

REUTERS  Eric Thayer  File
American literary giant Philip Roth dies at 85

Novelist Philip Roth was presented with the National Humanities Medal in 2011. These books feature Nathan Zuckerman, a character widely read as Roth's fictional alter ego, and overall the books explore authorial vocation and the writing process.

In this March 24, 1960 file photo, the three winners of the National Book Award, Robert Lowell, from left, awarded for the most distinguished book of poetry, Richard Ellmann, victor in the non-fiction category, and Philip Roth, recipient of the award in the fiction category for his book 'Goodbye, Columbus, ' pose at the Astor Hotel in New York City.

Roth's first published book was the 1959 novella and short-story collection "Goodbye, Columbus, ' which won the National Book Award".

"No one I know of has foreseen an America like the one we live in today", he said.

Philip announced in 2012 that Nemesis would be his last novel. "In my life I have had, in total, a couple of months of these completely wonderful days as a writer, and that is enough".

Thurman said that after he stopped writing Roth spent his free time reading and swimming, and meeting friends. "American Pastoral" was directed by and stars Ewan McGregor. Called "one of the dirtiest books ever published" by The New Yorker, Portnoy's Complaint was frank about sex, angered some Jewish leaders and was a commercial hit, later spawning a 1972 film adaptation starring - again - Benjamin, as well as Karen Black and Lee Grant. His book "When She Was Good" is said to be based in part of his life with Williams, who he said tricked into marriage by pretending she was pregnant.

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