The Library of America has finished up its monumental edition of the novels of Philip Roth with two volumes that include all of the books from 2001 until 2010. This includes the first rate “The Plot Against America,” which involves an alternate history of World War II in which Charles Lindbergh is elected president, as well as the (supposed) last couple of books that were mainly about death and dying and were therefore slightly repetitive — “Everyman,” “The Humbling,” and “Nemesis.”
If, as he has insisted, Roth is walking away from writing at the age of 80, there is no question that he has built one of the great bodies of work in modern letters. Even the failures — I’m not crazy about the Zuckerman novels, although I seem to be in the minority — abound with vivacity and an energetic questioning of the nature of man. Not what we like to think we are, but what we actually are: how we think, make decisions, make love — or, as Roth would surely prefer, have sex.
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