Philip Roth Is Retiring

Some writers die at their desks, hunched over manuscripts — but not Philip Roth. Salon has discovered a French-language interview Les inRocks conducted with Roth last month in which he said, “Némésis sera mon dernier livre.” Translation: “Nemesis will be my last book.” Roth told interviewer Nelly Kaprièlian that at age 74, he realized he didn’t have much time left and began to re-read some of his favorite novelists: Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Conrad, Hemingway. After that, he revisited his own books, before writing 2010’s Nemesis. In the end, he concluded that, like Joe Louis said, “I did the best I could with what I had.” That’s when he gave up on fiction. Now 78 years old, he says he has no intention to write during the last decade of his life. Those with a working knowledge of French can peruse the fascinating interview here (or take your chances with Google Translate).