There was no Philip Roth book published this year. No Roth book was published last year. And unless something changes drastically, no Roth book will be published in 2014. Nathan Zuckerman — Roth’s author ego, who first appeared in the 1974 book “My Life as a Man” and presumably exited himself in “Exit Ghost” in 2007 — is gone. And yet, Roth himself, now 80, lives on.
The piano was tuned, the vodka was flowing and world renowned pianist Evgeny Kissin posed for photos with noshers and nibblers at the pre-concert reception of the YIVO Institute for Yiddish Research’s 12th Annual Heritage Gala at the Center for Jewish History on May 7. “Just as there is love at first sight, there is friendship at first sight,” said Elie Wiesel as he recalled his first meeting with Russian-born Kissin, the evening’s honoree. Recalling the cultural oppression of what he once dubbed, “The Jews of Silence,” a smiling Wiesel told the festive crowd that there is currently “ a million-strong Russian diaspora in America…in Israel. How can you not believe in miracles?”
Wyman Brent may be the unlikeliest person you could find to establish a new Jewish library in Lithuania. He’s a long-haired Californian who speaks no Lithuanian.
YIVO is close to a deal to display Jewish archives in Vilna, 70 years after they were looted by the Nazis.
A prolific novelist, Philip Roth, at 78, has authored 31 novels and received the most distinguished literary awards, including, most recently, the Man Booker International Prize, which was awarded to him yesterday despite heavy opposition from one of the judges, Carmen Calil. Calil, a feminist author and publisher, criticized Roth’s repetitiveness and resigned from the judging panel in protest over the award. In the midst of the controversy, and his generally reclusive nature notwithstanding, Roth made a rare public appearance May 18 at YIVO, where some 300 people gathered for an evening dedicated to his most recent novel, “Nemesis.”
A version of this post appeared in Yiddish here.