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About the book
  • Published: 1 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446400357
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 176

Shop Talk




A brilliant collection of conversations and essays about writers and writing.

In Philip Roth's intimate intellectual encounters with an international and diverse cast of writers, they explore the importance of region, politics, and history in their work and trace the imaginative path by which a writer's highly individualised art is informed by the wider conditions of life.
Milan Kundera and Czechoslovakia, Primo Levi and Auschwitz, Edna O'Brien and Ireland, Aharon Appelfeld and Bukovina, Ivan Klima and Prague, Isaac Singer and Warsaw, Bruno Schulz and Poland -what is the intricate transaction between the susceptible writer and the provocative time and place? Roth's questions go to the original conditions that stimulate the narrative impulse, and he puts them to writers who are as attuned to the subtleties of literature as to the influence of the surrounding society.
Also included here are appreciative portraits of two of Roth's late friends, each transfixed till the end by his artistic vocation -the writer Bernard Malamud and the painter Philip Guston -as well as several cartoons drawn by Guston, a gift to Roth to illustrate his novella 'The Breast' and printed here for the first time. Shop Talk concludes with Roth's essay 'Rereading Saul Bellow', a vivid presentation of Bellow's achievement and, in the spirit of this collection, very much a colleague's reading.

  • Pub date: 1 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446400357
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 176

About the Author

Philip Roth

Philip Roth was born in Newark, New Jersey on 19 March 1933. The second child of second-generation Americans, Bess and Herman Roth, Roth grew up in the largely Jewish community of Weequahic, a neighbourhood he was to return to time and again in his writing. After graduating from Weequahic High School in 1950, he attended Bucknell University, Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago, where he received a scholarship to complete his M.A. in English Literature.

In 1959, Roth published Goodbye, Columbus – a collection of stories, and a novella – for which he received the National Book Award. Ten years later, the publication of his fourth novel, Portnoy’s Complaint, brought Roth both critical and commercial success, firmly securing his reputation as one of America’s finest young writers. Roth was the author of thirty-one books, including those that were to follow the fortunes of Nathan Zuckerman, and a fictional narrator named Philip Roth, through which he explored and gave voice to the complexities of the American experience in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries.

Roth’s lasting contribution to literature was widely recognised throughout his lifetime, both in the US and abroad. Among other commendations he was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, the International Man Booker Prize, twice the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the National Book Award, and presented with the National Medal of Arts and the National Humanities Medal by Presidents Clinton and Obama, respectively.

Philip Roth died on 22 May 2018 at the age of eighty-five having retired from writing six years previously.

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Praise for Shop Talk

“The questions are serious, respectful and intelligent, and the interviewees respond in kind”

Times Literary Supplement

“A riveting collection of conversations and interviews-in a different league to most”

Sunday Times


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