Philip Roth: The Biography


“One of the most anticipated literary biographies in recent memory.”
Associated Press

“A stunning feat, this is as dynamic and gripping as any of Roth’s own fictions.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The rapport between Philip Roth and award-winning literary biographer Bailey is immediately apparent in this fully authorized, comprehensive, and engrossing chronicle of a driven, complicated, and contentious artistic life. Roth’s voice, by turns funny, furious, anguished, erudite, and reconciled, is heard throughout Bailey’s flowing, vivid, and precise account. … [Bailey] places Roth’s protean achievements within the history of American literature, and traces the arc of his work from shocking to profound, forging a consummate and unforgettable biography of a controversial, virtuoso, and indelible American writer.”
Booklist (starred review)

“Excellent … evenhanded … Roth gave Bailey access to his archive and sat down for interviews, and it shows, especially in the many intimate details about Roth’s personal life … An outstanding biography of a prolific author for whom writing was ‘a ghastly protracted slog.'”
Kirkus (starred review)

“‘Magisterial’ and ‘definitive’ are adjectives often tossed around to describe voluminous biographies, but they don’t do justice to Blake Bailey’s years-in-the-making opus. Drawing extensively on archives and interviews, Bailey meticulously conjures the career of one of America’s literary titans, the devils and angels that shaped his work.”
O, The Oprah Magazine

“To have our most notable literary biographer tackle a man consistently listed among the planet’s master novelists is a monumental gift in the realm of international letters. Not only does Blake Bailey bring his famously scrupulous research to bear on this life packed with equal parts honor and scandal, he does so with economy and narrative force―all while working in elegant, unforgettable prose. As a friend of Roth late in his life, I rue certain stories detailed here. But Bailey also conjures in riveting, almost-holographic detail a man I loved quite literally to death, partly because he never bored me. I wept and railed, marveled and shook my fist at the sky. ‘Just make me interesting,’ Roth asked of Bailey, and this unputdownable page-turner does just that.”
—Mary Karr

“Everything you ever wanted to know about Philip Roth you can discover in his novels. Everything you ever wanted to know about what it took to become one of the greatest American writers of our time, you will find in Blake Bailey’s breathtaking biography.”
—Nicole Krauss

“Philip Roth, to go with his legendary talent, was a lucky man. That streak continues with Blake Bailey’s charming, wise, and witty biography, which achieves a balance and comprehensiveness that shouldn’t have been possible so soon after Roth’s death.”
—Jonathan Lethem