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Philip Roth: Portnoy’s Complaint author dies aged 85

Philip Roth, posing in New York in 2010Image copyright

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Philip Roth wrote more than 30 books

One of the great American authors, Philip Roth, has died aged 85.

The Pulitzer, National Book Award and Man Booker International Prize-winning novelist’s work drew its inspiration from Jewish family life, sex and American ideals.

His works included American Pastoral, I Married a Communist and Portnoy’s Complaint.

The New York Times reported that a close friend of Roth’s said he had died of congestive heart failure.

Roth first found success with his short story collection, Goodbye Columbus, published in 1959.

A decade later his sexually explicit novel Portnoy’s Complaint catapulted him to notoriety, making him a celebrity in the US.

In later life he wrote a number of highly regarded historical novels, including his 1997 work American Pastoral, for which he won his Pulitzer.

He wrote prolifically over the course of his career, publishing more than 30 books before ending his fiction career in 2009.

In 2014 he told the BBC he would make no more public appearances: “I can guarantee you that this is my last appearance ever on television… absolutely [my] last appearance on any stage anywhere.”

Tributes flowed in on Twitter, with his biographer Blake Bailey calling him “a darling man” and New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul describing him as “one of our greats”.

His death comes a week after that of another US literary heavyweight, Tom Wolfe, the author of Bonfire of the Vanities who died at 88.

Philip Roth: Portnoy’s Complaint author dies aged 85

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