I saw and heard something remarkable just a few hours ago, something I'm not likely to forget until all the mechanisms of remembering are shot and I’m tucked away for good. Philip Roth celebrated his eightieth birthday in the Billy Johnson Auditorium of the Newark Museum last night with the most astonishing literary performance I’ve ever witnessed. On his birthday night, he put on a farewell performance, a great burst of writing and sly self-display—a triumphal lope around the bases, like Ted Williams did on his last day…
While you were pondering your happy hour plans on Friday, the Associated Press reported that literary lion Philip Roth is hanging up the quill, having spilled the news in October to French publication Les inRocks.
“Némésis sera mon dernier livre,” said Roth of Nemesis, his latest and allegedly last novel. He added, and our French is a little rusty here, that, essentially, he's happy with what he's done, but he's tired of reading and writing fiction and doesn't think further works will significantly impact his legacy.
Friends and writers seem skeptical that he's actually finished. —Brian Howard