Sunday, May 9, 2021

Blake Bailey on writing the life of Philip Roth


Blake bailey Long-awaited biography of Philip Roth A fresh conversation has been generated about the life and work of the American novelist who died at the age of 85 in 2018. Bailey has come to visit the podcast this week to participate in that conversation himself.

“Most of Philip’s life was spent in this small hut in the wilderness of Connecticut, standing at a desk and living 12 hours inside his head,” says Bailey. “This is not unique to Philip. This is a phenomenon that I have experienced in my other subjects as well. They do not see people very clearly. They see themselves predictably, they see what they want to see. And Philip needed to understand that – although I loved him very much, I was – I had a job to do. So our relationship was constantly moving on the relationship between professional and friendship, and it can be a strange dynamic. But for the most part I was very fond of Philip. The last episode is a couple of weeks about Phillip. I can assure you that if you knew Philip, it was very difficult not to feel tenderness towards him. “

Julia Sweig visited the podcast to discuss her new book, “Lady Bird Johnson: Hidden in Plane Site.”

“I wanted to write a book about women and power,” Swig says. “And frankly, I had no such subject when I reached it, and found out that Lady Bird kept this huge record of her time in the White House. And yes, Lady Bird Johnson did the 20th century. Is married to the US President, probably associated with the word ‘power’. So the doors, once opened, just got a big chance to find someone I thought I had something about. , But in reality it was not so.

In this week’s episode, Tina Jordan looks at Book Review history during this year of its 125th anniversary; Alexandra Alter’s publication has news from the world; And Dwight Garner and Parul Sehgal talk about books they have recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.

The books discussed by critics of The Times this week are:

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode and the Book Review podcast in general. You can send them books@nytimes.com.



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