LITERATURE

Here We Are: My Friendship with Philip Roth

Penguin. May 2020. 171p. ISBN 9780525505242. $26. LIT
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In this beautifully written memoir, Isherwood Prize winner Taylor (The Hue and Cry at Our House) shares recollections of his nearly 20-year friendship with the late, great novelist Philip Roth (1933–2018). Taylor draws on personal anecdotes and conversations from the past two decades of Roth’s life to capture the writer’s voice in a far-ranging narrative that moves from allusions to Roth’s fiction to his relationships with writers such as Saul Bellow and John Updike. Insights into personalities and obsessions are gained through the friends’ numerous casual encounters, and while a sense of deep affection between the men permeates the text, Taylor’s observations are neither sentimental nor uncritical. As Roth himself was a masterly, insightful observer, Taylor, too, understands his subject keenly.
VERDICT Like Roth, Taylor is a terrific raconteur, and readers are likely to be as entertained by his opinions as those of the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist. An eloquent and touching account that should appeal to all who appreciate the value of true friendship.

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