Philip Roth, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, dies at 85

Posted at 10:54 PM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 00:54:02-04

Philip Roth, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, died Tuesday of congestive heart failure, said Andrew Wylie, his literary agent. He was 85.

He was hospitalized two weeks ago with tachycardia, which he’d suffered for many years, said his friend, Judith Thurman. He was surrounded by close friends and family in his final moments, including his sister-in-law, his brother’s widow.

Roth was one of America’s most prolific 20th century novelists, a career that included more than two dozen books.

"From the beginning of his long and celebrated career, Philip Roth’s fiction has often explored the human need to demolish, to challenge, to oppose, to pull apart," the Pulitzer committee said when it awarded him the prize for fiction two decades ago for "American Pastoral."

In 2012, he announced that his most recent book, "Nemesis," published two years prior, would be the last one. He made the decision after he reread all his books.

"I decided that I was done with fiction," he said at the time.

"I don’t want to read any more of it, write any more of it, and I don’t even want to talk about it anymore," he said at the time. " … It’s enough. I no longer feel this dedication to write what I have experienced my whole life."

Roth has never failed to provoke with his many books, including 1959’s "Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories," "The Plot Against America" and "Everyman."