Today, if you can believe it, is the venerable Philip Roth’s 80th birthday. Considered by many to be the greatest American writer of our time, he is also notoriously cantankerous — he dislikes interviews, and when he grants them, he refuses to give an inch; he does his best to dissuade young writers from taking up the craft; he doesn’t care what you think. This is, obviously, sort of delightful. After the jump, on the occasion of his becoming an official octogenarian, ten of Philip Roth’s grumpiest moments.
“I don’t ask writers about their work habits. I really don’t care. Joyce Carol Oates says somewhere that when writers ask each other what time they start working and when they finish and how much time they take for lunch, they’re actually trying to find out, ‘Is he as crazy as I am?’ I don’t need that question answered.” — The Paris Review, 1984