Philip Roth is one of my go-to authors: he is a keen observer of life (especially in and around Newark, New Jersey) and he writes good too. I know there are a couple of titles out there I have missed, but I think I have them on the shelf and it’s only a matter of time. Of course Philip Roth is one of those authors my graduate advisor warned me about … he’s still alive and as long as he is publishing, you can’t really make any general statements about his work, at least in an academic environment.
But that’s the wrong Roth. I remembered reading some fiction by an Eastern European Roth that was pretty good so I dug around in his bibliography, read one of two excellent novels (don’t miss The Radetsky March). But Joseph Roth, for all his skill in writing, is not the right Roth either. I keep seeing the title, Call It Sleep, on the Top 100 lists and I suppose the first name of the author never sunk in and I never seemed to find the book, leaving a large hole in my reading.