Philip Roth Dies

I'm just too upset to say much of anything further.  It'll take a long time to sink in.  Whenever I read Philip Roth he became my extension; I wasn't able to put his books down while I read them.  So many times he allowed me to climb into his mind and heart on a personal level that I have rarely experienced with other writers.  This was particularly true with his book "Patrimony,"  Roth's unflinching, poignant, heartbreaking and difficult book about his father's decline. 


Rest in Peace.  What a great author.  His books moved me.  He will surely be missed.


Several years ago our son interviewed Philip Roth in his Manhattan apartment in connection with a show that the Newark Public Library was having to commemorate Roth's 80th birthday. During the course of the interview, our son found out the Roth's best friend during high school in Newark was my wife's father's first cousin.  He was an opthalmologist in Millburn, and died a few years ago. We never knew. 


What amazes me is how he kept his power and bite as a novelist for so many decades.  A giant among American post-war novelists.


The person who Roth based Swede in American Pastoral on (although the real person was not anywhere like Swede) lived in South Orange and his son used to post on MOL under the username Mountainhouse. (My wife went to Columbia with Mountainhouse's cousin. I found out in an exchange of pm's.)


If I'm not mistaken, at least two of the three old line, now gone food joints in the so called "Millburn" Mall in Vauxhall that had Newark roots - Tabatchnicks, Sonny Amsters, and Syds - were mentioned in, I think, American Pastoral although it might have been in another of his  novels written around that time.


Roth's second wife,Claire Bloom still can be seen occasionally in the tv show Doc Martin as his estranged mother. She's 87.


galileo said:
Roth's first wife,Claire Bloom still can be seen occasionally in the tv show Doc Martin as his estranged mother. She's 87.

I didn't realize that was Claire Bloom.  She was one of my favorites when we were both younger. She was exquisite. 


Roth and Steven Crane............who went to my high school and wrote "Red Badge of Courage"......were proud Newarkers


galileo said:
Roth's first wife,Claire Bloom still can be seen occasionally in the tv show Doc Martin as his estranged mother. She's 87.

 Small point - Claire Bloom was the second of Roth's two wives


Thanks for the correction.



The person who Roth based Swede in American Pastoral on (although the real person was not anywhere like Swede) lived in South Orange and his son used to post on MOL under the username Mountainhouse. (My wife went to Columbia with Mountainhouse's cousin. I found out in an exchange of pm's.)

Seymour "Swede" Masin was a tremendous athlete and local hero at Weequahic who inspired the Swede Levov character in "American Pastoral." Happily, the real Swede had a much more peaceful adulthood in South Orange.

 https://patch.com/new-jersey/southorange/hometown-crowd-welcomes-masin-son-of-the-swede


bub said:
If I'm not mistaken, at least two of the three old line, now gone food joints in the so called "Millburn" Mall in Vauxhall that had Newark roots - Tabatchnicks, Sonny Amsters, and Syds - were mentioned in, I think, American Pastoral although it might have been in another of his  novels written around that time.

 There's also a passage in the book discussing how Swede Levov didn't want to live in a suburb like South Orange or Maplewood that was near the Newark factory, but went west of the South Mountain Reservation to more rural country. 

The little post office where the book's key event occurred seems to be the one in Mendham.


bub said:
If I'm not mistaken, at least two of the three old line, now gone food joints in the so called "Millburn" Mall in Vauxhall that had Newark roots - Tabatchnicks, Sonny Amsters, and Syds - were mentioned in, I think, American Pastoral although it might have been in another of his  novels written around that time.

"In “American Pastoral,” he writes of the Newark of his childhood: “Am I completely mistaken to think that living as well-born children in Renaissance Florence could not have held a candle to growing up within aromatic range of Tabachnik’s pickle barrels?”  

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/23/opinion/philip-roth-jewish-identity.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region®ion=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region  

eta - I really miss those places. Tabatchnick's wasn't just about the food - it was an experience. 



Read the short story, Prague Orgy.  Wonderful


I am revisiting American Pastoral via Audible. Ron Silver was a worthy narrator. 


cramer said:


eta - I really miss those places. Tabatchnick's wasn't just about the food - it was an experience. 

 I was friendly with Seymour Tabatchnick and Sonny Amster.  I miss them both and their wonderful stores.  


RealityForAll said:


cramer said:


eta - I really miss those places. Tabatchnick's wasn't just about the food - it was an experience. 
 I was friendly with Seymour Tabatchnick and Sonny Amster.  I miss them both and their wonderful stores.  

Lon Tabatchnick was the developer of the Margaritaville in Hollywood, Fl. It's not a common name and I've wondered whether he's related. 




Speaking as a woman "of a certain age" (amazingly, the age starts with a 7) I wanted to tell her, yes maybe that's not his strong suit.  It's also not what he's choosing to write about primarily; the women are seen through the eyes of the male characters?; and maybe think about his generation - the women he grew  up with and knew, and the women of the period(s) his books are set in.  Times really have changed, imo.




In order to add a comment – you must Join this community – Click here to do so.