‘It no longer feels a great injustice that I have to die’

From The Guardian:

Roth1 Philip Roth rarely gives interviews, and I quickly find out why. It is not that he is unpleasant or rude; he just cannot be bothered with answering the same questions, over and over again. “What do you want to talk about?” Roth asks, as he sits down. Already I sense that this will be a difficult job. In September, the New York Times interviewed Roth about his work being published by The Library of America. Only two other authors (Eudora Welty and Saul Bellow) have achieved this honour while still alive. But Roth would say practically nothing to the Times’s increasingly desperate journalist.

We are sitting in a backroom of Roth’s literary agency in midtown New York. The room is full of books by Salman Rushdie. “It’s probably wisest to place the Rushdie room in the back,” Roth says – without smiling. He has arrived from his home in rural Connecticut to give an interview about The Plot Against America, which was published in America and Britain a while back, but is only just being published in my home country of Denmark. The book imagines Charles Lindbergh, king of the skies, winning the presidential election in 1940 and establishing an alliance with Hitler.

Jews appear everywhere in Roth’s books, but this one seems to be Roth’s great Jewish history. “Jewish?” he says. “It’s my most American book. It’s about America. About America. It’s an American dystopia. You would never tell Ralph Ellison that Invisible Man is his most Negro book, would you?” He looks at me. “Would you?”

More here.