Philip Roth told French publication LES INROCKS, reports THE NEW YORK OBSERVER, that he won't be writing any more novels. Professionals announce retirements all the time and, soon enough, are back. So we don't know whether to take Roth at his word.
If he is really packing it in, then this will be the end of the era of the stock character who we first met in "Portnoy's Complaint." It was the tormented, self-hating American Jew. His mother had done a job on him and he couldn't find inner peace. However, he sure did try. Those attempts got him into peculiar sexual situations.
Of course, that kind of being is an anachronism. He is not interesting since our progressive society has declared much of suffering optional.
Today, he would be able to heal within five months through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). He would focus not on his double-bind mother but his thought patterns. Another journey of self discovery would be to sit on the red and gold cushion meditating in one of the many Buddhist temples in the American suburbs.
A more activist path and the one which would attract heavy media coverage would be the one of self forgetting. The successful television producer would take a time out to teach creative nonfiction to urban adults and teenagers.
The text he would use would be Lee Gutkind's new book "You Can't Make This Stuff Up." Those workshops would produce the next generation of social media personalities. The former producer would go obtain a teaching certificate and become an English instructor in a New Haven, Connecticut magnet school.
In short, with so many proven ways to exit self hate the syndrome is no longer interesting. What have become compelling narratives, both in art and in real life, are chronicles of human beings who have the courage to make those big paradigm shifts. On "Mad Men," Catholic ethnic Peggy Olson (born 1939) outgrows living in the shadow of Mr. Man. We are waiting for convicted insider trader and former McKinsey head Rajat Gupta to emerge from prison in two years and put together a new self.