It’s tough for Philip Roth aficionados to avoid feeling that they knew the writer who made them nostalgic about Newark although they’d never been there and whose satires of nouveau riche Jewish families made them cringe even as they were convulsed with laughter. After all, Roth, one of America’s greatest writers, reveled in blurring the distinction between fiction and reality — especially his own — and playfully wove connections between himself and his characters while warning readers of the perils of assuming they knew which was which.
In the course of a friendship that spanned the final decades of Roth’s life, Benjamin Taylor discovered the distinction during their regular Sunday night Chinese dinners and their arguments over whether to enjoy Hollywood classics (Taylor’s preference) or to watch Fellini or Kirosawa, as Roth desired. His new book, Here We Are, is a tender tribute to one of the most lauded American authors of his generation — Pulitzer Prize recipient, twice winner of the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, three-time winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award — not to mention the National Humanities Medal conferred on him by President Barack Obama and the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement in fiction on the world stage.
If you long for the sound of Roth’s signature brand of literary snark and a new chapter in his exploration of how American Jews navigated the tightrope between solidarity and assimilation, you won’t want to miss an evening of Taylor’s stories of a literary lion who roared and soared yet remained plagued by fears of disapproval.
Benjamin Taylor is a novelist, memoirist, biographer and editor of books on the writings of Saul Bellow, Marcel Proust and Susan Sontag.
Free (with option to buy book)
If Covid-19 restrictions prevent large gatherings, this program will become virtual-only. All in-person tickets will automatically transfer. A link to the virtual program will be emailed to buyers the day prior. If a book is included in your ticket purchase, it will be mailed to the address you provide.
No refunds will be available.