To younger writers who are missing the boat, I want to say: Read Roth. Learn from his oeuvre and from his life, and from how the two have intersected. Learn how a writer can keep pace with America and tell its story as well as his own, again and again.
Roth calmly announced his retirement from fiction and the news reverberated all over the world. We were surprised. We didn't know what to think. We still believed that our favorite novelist would never stop writing novels. How can a writer stop writing?
Dear Mr. Roth, please write. I'd like you to rage, rage against the dying of light. What happened to the legacy of our best grandparents, professors and crusty editors, skilled, in the arts of torment, demand and attitude?