Philip Roth Talks To Hermione Lee
In this interview, published in The Guardian, Hermione Lee talks to Philip Roth on the publication of his latest novel, Exit Ghost.
Here’s a taster:
HL: Nathan Zuckerman, talking about Lonoff, tells Kliman that ‘writers can be shattered by writing’. Can you say more about what he means, and what, in particular, this might mean in your own case?
PR: Zuckerman is talking about a writer who during the last five years of his life produced no finished work. There is much conjecture in Exit Ghost about why this happened to the once-famous short-story writer. Zuckerman’s remark, though it comes in the form of an assertion, is in actuality further conjecture. The remark has no meaning in my own case. I’ve been stymied again and again by writing fiction – at various times stymied, frustrated, mystified, thwarted, staggered, even outright defeated – but I haven’t been grotesquely shattered as yet. By and large, writing fiction does the opposite – it fosters endurance. The ordeal requires the sort of fortitude that keeps one going.