Roth quits

Nov. 10 (Reuters): Seminal American author Philip Roth, whose novels explored modern Jewish-American life, has told a French magazine that he will write no more books because he has lost his passion for it.

The author of such novels as American Pastoral, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize, and Portnoy's Complaint slipped his retirement announcement into an interview last month with French magazine Les Inrocks. Yesterday, Houghton Mifflin confirmed his decision.

Roth, 79, one of the world's most revered novelists and a frequent contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature, said he had not written for three years. "To tell you the truth, I'm done," Roth was quoted as telling Les Inrocks. "Nemesis will be my last book," he said of his 2010 short novel set against a fictional polio epidemic in Newark, New Jersey, in 1944. Roth, who has written some 25 novels, told Les Inrocks that he had always found writing difficult and that he wanted nothing more to do with reading, writing or talking about books. He said that when he was 74, he started re-reading his favourite novels by authors Ernest Hemingway, Ivan Turgenev, Fyodor Dostoyevsky and others, and then re-read his own novels.

"I wanted to see whether I had wasted my time writing," he explained. "After that, I decided that I was done with fiction. I no longer want to read, to write, I don't even want to talk about it anymore," he was quoted as saying.

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