Sam Leith

Acting Up

The Humbling

By

Jonathan Cape 140pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Philip Roth’s encores are starting to look like one of those endless RSC curtain calls, aren’t they? While the other big beasts of his literary generation lost it one by one – Updike’s powers falling away; Norman Mailer’s late books going plain nuts; Gore Vidal not yet literally barking but on the way – Roth has enjoyed a flowering of late form barely seen since Yeats. And these little masterpieces are coming out once a year, if not faster.

You’d think it would make him cheerful. Not so, apparently. It’s an irony – albeit a trivial one – that a writer manifestly at the height of his powers is writing so insistently and well about obscurity, failure, thwartedness, and the collapse of talents and erections.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,