Magazine July 27, 2020, Issue

Philip Roth & Friend

Author Philip Roth poses in New York, September 15, 2010. (Eric Thayer/Reuters)
Here We Are: My Friendship with Philip Roth, by Benjamin Taylor (Penguin Books, 192 pp., $26)

Philip Roth, winner of the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal, the Man Booker International Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, author of no fewer than ten volumes in the esteemed Library of America, wasn’t, truth to tell, a very good writer. What he wrote about, chiefly sex and himself, is not all that interesting, and the way he wrote about it much of the time — through those interchangeable fictional narrator-incarnations of himself, Peter Tarnopol, David Kepesh, Nathan Zuckerman — not especially memorable. Nor is he re-readable. I recently tried, giving

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Joseph Epstein — Mr. Epstein is the author, most recently, of Gallimaufry, a Collection of Essays, Reviews, Bits.

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A Defense of America

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