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In Philip Roth’s New York Apartment: Hints Of How He Spent His Final Years

You could now live in Philip Roth’s two-story New York condo – but it will cost you.

The late author’s apartment on West 79th Street, where he spent much of his later years, is now listed for $3.2 million, Mansion Global reported. It appears that the roughly 1,500 square foot two bedroom, combined from two units in 2004, is just how Roth left it at the time of his death in May of 2018.

In the kitchen hangs a pencil sketch floor plan of his boyhood apartment in Newark, the city where many of Roth’s novels and stories are set. The living room gives pride of place to a map of Newark and an Eames chair he often lounged in while gazing out on the city from one of his three balconies.

Remnants of Roth’s literary life, many of which will soon go to the Newark Public Library, were also present when Mansion Global reporters dropped in. On a desk was his 1998 Pulitzer Prize for “American Pastoral.” Another writing surface, equipped with a standing desk for Roth’s chronic back pain, hint at the work accomplished in the dwelling before his retirement in 2010.

Roth bought the first unit in the building as a writing studio in 1989 when he and his then-wife Claire Bloom lived a few blocks away. He lived there part time following the couple’s divorce and the completion of his celebrated American Trilogy The Real Deal reported.

What was Roth reading? Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves showed Hemingway’s “A Farewell to Arms” and Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” and Samuel Scheffler’s “Death and the Afterlife” was placed on his standing desk. Aspiring writers might be pleased to learn that the “Goodbye, Columbus” writer also kept a thesaurus handy.

While mostly associated in his old age with his farmhouse in Warren, CT, Roth is reported to have enjoyed life on the Upper West Side. His biographer, Blake Bailey told Mansion Global the writer liked shopping at Zabar’s and having breakfast at the nearby bistro Nice Matin.

Roth felt at home in the neighborhood “because there were a lot of Jews there” Bailey told Mansion Global. “That’s what Philip would tell you.”

PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture intern. He can be reached at [email protected].

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