* Roth tells French magazine he has lost passion for writing
* U.S. publisher confirms Roth's decision
Nov 9 Seminal American author Philip Roth, whose
novels explored modern Jewish-American life, has told a French
magazine that he will write no more books because he has lost
his passion for it.
The author of such novels as "American Pastoral", for which
he won a Pulitzer Prize, and "Portnoy's Complaint" slipped his
retirement announcement into an interview last month with French
magazine Les Inrocks.
On Friday, Houghton Mifflin confirmed his decision. "He told
me it was true," said Lori Glazer, executive director of
publicity at the publisher.
Roth, 79, one of the world's most revered novelists and a
frequent contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature, said he
had not written for three years.
"To tell you the truth, I'm done," Roth was quoted as
telling Les Inrocks. "'Nemesis' will be my last book," he said
of his 2010 short novel set against a fictional polio epidemic
in Newark, New Jersey, in 1944.
The novella "Goodbye, Columbus" catapulted Roth onto the
American literary scene in 1959 with its satirical depiction of
class and religion in American life. Published along with five
other short stories, it won the National Book Award in 1960.
He again received that award in 1995 for "Sabbath's Theater."
Roth, who has written some 25 novels, told Les Inrocks that
he had always found writing difficult and that he wanted nothing
more to do with reading, writing or talking about books.
He said that when he was 74, he started re-reading his
favorite novels by authors Ernest Hemingway, Ivan Turgenev,
Fyodor Dostoyevsky and others, and then re-read his own novels.
"I wanted to see whether I had wasted my time writing," he
explained. "After that, I decided that I was done with fiction.
I no longer want to read, to write, I don't even want to talk
about it anymore," he was quoted as saying.
"I have dedicated my life to the novel: I studied, I taught,
I wrote, I read - to the exclusion of almost everything else.
Enough is enough! I no longer feel this fanaticism to write that
I have experienced all my life. The idea of trying to write
again is impossible," Roth told the magazine.
Roth's four most recent novels, "Everyman," "Indignation,"
"The Humbling" and "Nemesis", have been short works, often
focusing on ageing, physical decline, depression and death.
New Jersey-born Roth is best known for his
semi-autobiographical and unreliable alter-ego Nathan Zuckerman,
who appeared in nine of his novels.
Roth told Les Inrocks that he had spent most of his time in
recent years preparing material for his biographer, Blake
Bailey. "If I had a choice, I would prefer that there is no
biography written about me, but there will be biographies after
my death so (I wanted) to be sure that one of them is correct,"
Roth was quoted as saying.
Roth said he had asked his literary executors and his agent
to destroy his personal archives after his death once Bailey has
finished the biography. "I don't want my personal papers hanging
around everywhere," he said.
(Reporting By Eric Kelsey and Jill Serjeant in Los Angeles)