Philip Roth: Portnoy’s Complaint Author Dies, Aged 85

Roth with former President Obama after being award a national  medal

The Pulitzer, National Book Award and Man Booker International Prize-winning novelist’s work drew its inspiration from Jewish family life, sex and American ideals.

His works included American Pastoral, I Married a Communist and Portnoy’s Complaint.

The New York Times reported that a close friend of Roth’s said he had died of congestive heart failure.

Roth first found success with his short story collection, Goodbye Columbus, published in 1959.

A decade later his sexually explicit novel Portnoy’s Complaint catapulted him to notoriety, making him a celebrity in the US.

In later life, he wrote a number of highly regarded historical novels, including his 1997 work American Pastoral, for which he won his Pulitzer.

He wrote prolifically over the course of his career, publishing more than 30 books before ending his fiction career in 2009.

When Roth won the 2011 Man Booker International, chairman of the judges Rick Gekoski said: “His career is remarkable in that he starts at such a high level, and keeps getting better.

“In his 50s and 60s, when most novelists are in decline, he wrote a string of novels of the highest, enduring quality.”

He also recognised that Roths win divided the Man Booker International panel and had caused one judge to quit in protest.

“I can recall few of his novels that don’t provoke an occasional but overwhelming desire to shout ‘Will you shut up!’ at a character or his author,” he said. BBC Report