American literary giant Philip Roth has died

Philip Roth
RICHARD DREW  AP  REX  Shutterstock

Philip Roth RICHARD DREW AP REX Shutterstock

Usually set in his birthplace New Jersey, Roth's fiction was known for its autobiographical nature, its blurring of boundaries between fictionality and fact, and the understanding of Jewish American identity, especially masculinity.

He collected the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement in fiction in 2011, followed the next year by Spain's Prince of Asturias award for literature and in 2015, France presented Roth with the insignia of Commander of the Legion of Honour, a laurel the author called "a wonderful surprise".

Philip Roth, one of the country's most celebrated writers, has died at 85. These books feature Nathan Zuckerman, a character widely read as Roth's fictional alter ego, and overall the books explore authorial vocation and the writing process.

He referred to Philip - who is behind books The Ghost Writer, The Plot Against America and The Humbling - as the "greatest living writer" in a touching message.

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Along with Saul Bellow and John Updike, Roth helped define the American novel in the post-World War II era, exploring "what it means to be American, a Jew, a writer, a man", the Times said.

Roth's 2004 novel "The Plot Against America" was thrust back into the public eye following the election of Donald Trump.

Gunn shared a photo of the cover of Roth's book The Counterlife on Twitter, writing: "RIP Philip Roth".

She said: "He was an incredibly generous person". He was the first three-time victor of the PEN/Faulkner Award, honored for "Operation Shylock" in 1994, "The Human Stain" in 2001 and "Everyman" in 2007.

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He graduated from Bucknell and pursued a master's degree from the University of Chicago graduating in 1955.

Roth went on to state in the emails he was born in the year former President Franklin D. Roosevelt took office and lived through the tenures of leaders like Richard Nixon and George W. Bush.

The book topped The New York Times best-seller list for the year and turned its reclusive author into a celebrity - an uncomfortable position that he would later satirise in novels such as "Zuckerman Unbound" (1981) and "Operation Shylock" (1993). Roth and Bloom were companions for several years before marrying in 1990; they separated in 1995. His more recent books included 2001's "The Dying Animal" and 'The Human Stain, ' published in 2000 and released in 2003 as a movie starring Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman. Bellow, a fellow North American Jew, and Roth in particular had a close friendship, recorded in letters written over the course of decades.

But in 2017, Roth said Lindbergh's character and Trump were not similar. "I no longer feel this dedication to write what I have experienced my whole life". A memorial is being planned in NY, possibly in September, his biographer Blake Bailey said.

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