In an interview with a French publication called Les inRocks last month — which does not appear to have been reported in the United States — Roth, 78, said he has not written anything new in the last three years, and that he will not write another novel.
“To tell you the truth, I’m done,” Roth told the magazine, in the most definitive statement he has ever made about his future plans. “‘Nemesis’ will be my last book.”
(The interview is published in French; we used an Internet program to translate his quotes into English. We asked his publisher, Houghton Mifflin, for confirmation. They reached out to Roth this morning. “He said it was true,” said Lori Glazer, vice president and executive director of publicity.)
On Twitter, Roth Scholar David Gooblar is contesting the claim that Roth hasn’t written in the last 3 years, but seems to concede the point that Roth’s stymied:
— David Gooblar (@dgooblar) November 9, 2012
If this is really the end (though I find that as hard to believe as I did Jay-Z’s “retirement” from rap; people who build a life around an art never truly retire), then here are a few links for you to consider as you read through Roth’s backlist:
What’s Next Isn’t the Point: Philip Roth in Age—Ben Jeffrey’s lengthy essay on Roth’s Nemesis Quartet (including what may be his final book)
And Cogito, Ergo Doom: Exit Ghost and the Rest of Philip Roth’s Zuckerman Books—Barrett Hathcock’s essay on the Zuckerman novels