Roth Unbound

Adam Mars-Jones writes:

Claudia Roth Pierpont met Philip Roth at a birthday party in 2002. She was a fan, but managed not to alienate him with clumsy enthusiasm. A couple of years later he sent her a photocopy of a newspaper article he thought she might be interested in. They met for coffee and became more relaxed with each other. Later he recruited her as a member of the small rotating committee of friends, an editorial micro-minyan, to whom he sent drafts of his books. Roth Unbound has his blessing but wasn’t vetted by him, and Pierpont feels free to criticise his work, his behaviour (on special occasions) and once, even, his knowledge of Yiddish: ‘“Meshugeh” versus “meshugeneh”: there are very few people left in the world who can calibrate the difference, and Roth is not among them.’ She doesn’t offer her own guide to correct usage.

(LRB 23 January 2014)

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