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Roth’s Death in France

(Original Caption) Philip Roth, author. Seated and wearing sport shirt.
Credit: Bettmann/Getty

One of the main things I’ve noticed about Paris is that people still read real books everywhere you go–the subway, cafes, etc. And they read interesting literature too, not the crap that you see Americans read in the rare times they do. One of my favorite hobbies is watching what people read on airplanes. And good lord.

Anyway, I was in a cafe this morning having a croissant before heading to Versailles and I discovered that Philip Roth had died because French TV had a full 2-3 minute television segment on it. I’m guessing that US network news might have mentioned it for 15 seconds, tops.

Roth meant a lot to me not only because he was one of the all-time great American writers, misogyny notwithstanding, but because he was one of the first contemporary authors I started reading when I got interested in literature for real around my junior year of college. People such as Roth, Ishiguro, and Cormac McCarthy really changed my life and even if he was 85 and even if some of his work is politically way out of place now, he was still an utterly brilliant writer.

Now I will go back to eating enough bread, cheese, and charcuterie to kill me in the next week.

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