What exactly does it mean to “pull a Roth”?

Interestingly, the Wheeler Centre has already heard three of its visiting writers express very different opinions on Philip Roth.

Roth, who has predicted that reading novels will have become a ‘cultic" activity within 25 years, once said in an interview with The Paris Review that novelists write the same book over and over again.

Geoff Dyer, who firmly disagreed with the notion that writers constantly repeat themselves, described Roth’s writing as “gurning”.

Yet, a couple of weeks ago in conversation with Jennifer Byrne, Helen Garner agreed with Roth’s view.

Finally, Sarah Dunant talked about her ability to empathise with Roth, despite him being an “aging man, terrified of death.”

Philip Roth: The Humbling

Philip Roth: The Humbling

Many would argue that his latest offering, The Humbling, reviewed here in the New Statesman, confirms at least one of these views.

So what exactly does it mean to “pull a Roth”?

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