Philip Roth, one of the all-time greats, died one year ago today. I’ve turned to his books again and again to feel out the grim scars of America, the stains of human psyche. The uproarious comedy. Gets me in the mood to work. Atrocity everywhere, shaded with tender stories about who we are.

He is an American visionary.

I read Sabbath’s Theater over a four-day trip to Mexico and back, in February, spellbound at 30,000 feet over the relentless malice of it all. The intricate layers of love and hate as the broad grind of culture churns onward in the background. Hell of a book.

“Writing turns you into somebody who’s always wrong. The illusion that you may get it right someday is the perversity that draws you on. What else could? As pathological phenomena go, it doesn’t completely wreck your life.”

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