Philip Roth Makes History

EW When I interviewed Bruce Springsteen and asked what he was reading, it was your trilogy, and he said how moved he was by those books. Did you ever meet him?

ROTH We talked on the phone and had a good conversation. [Before that] I had only heard his name. I feel like my own grandfather. I'm always asking people ''Who's so-and-so?'' and they laugh. It would be the equivalent of a young person asking me ''Who's Babe Ruth?''

EW Sean Penn also brought up your name, saying he had read your last four books and admired them.

ROTH Is that right? Now let's see -- have I ever seen him in a movie? I saw him in a trailer for that movie about the river.

EW Mystic River.

ROTH Yeah. I don't go to the movies.

EW You don't? Did you see The Human Stain?

ROTH Best not to speak of that.

EW So you don't go to movies; do you watch TV?

ROTH I watch the news on PBS; I watch baseball.

EW Who do you root for?

ROTH Well, about eight years ago I thought it was a wise thing to change from the Mets to the Yankees, and it's one of the smartest things I've ever done.

EW It's like making a wise move in the stock market.

ROTH Yes, it is! I thought I didn't have to be loyal to my playground allegiances anymore. I was moving on!

Originally posted Oct 01, 2004 Published in issue #786 Oct 01, 2004 Order article reprints

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