One of America’s greatest novelists, Philip Roth died this week, aged 85. From 1959’s Goodbye, Columbus to 2010’s Nemesis, 13 acclaimed writers including William Boyd, David Baddiel, Linda Grant and Joyce Carol Oates pick their favourite workI fell in love with Neil Klugman, forerunner to Portnoy and hero of Goodbye, Columbus, Philip Roth’s first novel, in my early 20s – 40 years after the novel was written. Descriptions of Roth’s writing often err towards violence; he is savagely funny, bitingly honest, filled with rage and thwarted desire. But although his first novel rehearses all the themes he would spend 60 years mining – sexual vanity, lower-middle-class consciousness (“for an instant Brenda reminded me of the pug-nosed little bastards from Montclair”), the crushing weight of family and, of course, American Jewish identity – what I loved about his first novel was its tenderness. Continue reading…



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