An upcoming audio-only book will feature an author’s memories of his complicated friendship with the late Philip Roth.
James Atlas’ “Remembering Roth” comes out March 1, the audio publisher and distributor Audible announced Tuesday. Atlas, whose books have ranged from the memoir “My Life in the Middle Ages” to an acclaimed Delmore Schwartz biography, will reflect on a relationship which began in the late 1970s and continued for decades. Roth died last spring.
According to Audible, Atlas and Roth would take walks together in Manhattan, where the two had apartments on the same block, and read each other’s work. (Atlas was among the few people Roth allowed to see a pre-publication edition of his novel “The Ghost Writer.”) In a 1979 profile which ran in The New York Times, Atlas wrote that Roth was “Discordant, manic, ebullient,” with “the verve of a Borscht-circuit comedian and a genius for mimicry.”
Their friendship was strained by Atlas’ biography of one of Roth’s literary heroes, Saul Bellow, a project that Atlas has written was suggested by Roth. Published in 2000, the book was condemned by many as an overly negative portrait.
Audible, which is owned by Amazon.com, is describing “Remembering Roth” as “Atlas’s deeply personal tribute to Roth delivered in his own voice.”
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