Philip Roth Birthday Celebration at Library of Congress Wednesday, March 19

Philip Roth may be our most celebrated literary kvetcher. Even among a long line of iconic Jewish-American authors like Bernard Malamud and Saul Bellow, Roth’s authorial voice was always the loudest and the wryest. Through famous works such as Portnoy’s Complaint and The Ghost Writer, Roth’s writing held an inquisitive mirror to the sacredness of the Jewish ethos, creating characters whose grotesque doings—whether it be a teenager’s experiences with public masturbation or a young author’s sexual fantasies about Anne Frank—served to highlight this fundamental confusion with the purpose of faith. Authors Sam Lipsyte and Howard Norman discuss this legacy and Roth’s impact on their own work at the Library of Congress in celebration of the author’s 81st birthday. We can kvetch all we want about being Jewish; why not try and make sense of what it means instead? The event begins at noon at the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. SE. Free. (202) 707-5394. loc.gov.

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