, an irreverent and humorous portrait of Jewish-American life that earned him a National Book Award
. In 1969 he became a major celebrity with the publication of the controversial Portnoy's Complaint
, the humorous and sexually explicit psychoanalytical monologue of "a lust-ridden, mother-addicted young Jewish bachelor," filled with "intimate, shameful detail, and coarse, abusive language."
Roth has since become one of the most honored authors of his generation: his books have twice been awarded the National Book Award
, twice the National Book Critics Circle
award, and three times the PEN/Faulkner Award.
The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.
When you publish a book, it’s the world’s book. The world edits it.
To become a celebrity is to become a brand name. There is Ivory Soap, Rice Krispies, and Philip Roth. Ivory is the soap that floats; Rice Krispies the breakfast cereal that goes snap-crackle-pop; Philip Roth the Jew who masturbates with a piece of liver.
I write fiction and I’m told it’s autobiography, I write autobiography and I’m told it’s fiction, so since I’m so dim and they’re so smart, let them decide what it is or it isn’t.
I cannot and do not live in the world of discretion, not as a writer, anyway. I would prefer to, I assure you — it would make life easier. But discretion is, unfortunately, not for novelists.
Oh Patimkin! Fruit grew in their refrigerator and sporting goods dropped from their trees!
...her breasts swam towards me like two pink-nosed fish and she let me hold them.
A Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy till they die.
It’s a family joke that when I was a tiny child I turned from the window out of which I was watching a snowstorm, and hopefully asked, "Momma, do we believe in winter?"