Philip Roth, the American novelist best known for works like American Pastoral, Portnoy’s Complaint and Everyman, died yesterday at the age of 85 . In his nearly six-decade career, the New Jersey-raised writer earned two National Book Awards, a Pulitzer Prize in 1997 for American Pastoral and two National Book Critics Circle awards.
The celebrated author was known for writing thematically grim novels with intense messages. With that in mind, we’ve collected 10 iconic quotes from his most famous works.
“Life is just a short period of time in which you are alive.”
“Old age isn’t a battle: old age is a massacre.”
“You can no more make someone tell the truth than you can force someone to love you.”
“The only obsession everyone wants: ‘love.’ People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The Platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you’re whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You’re whole, and then you’re cracked open. ”
—The Dying Animal
“There’s no remaking reality… Just take it as it comes. Hold your ground and take it as it comes. There’s no other way.”
“He had learned the worst lesson that life can teach—that it makes no sense.”
“Nothing lasts and yet nothing passes either, and nothing passes just because nothing lasts.”
—The Human Stain
“It’s best to give while your hand is still warm.”
“You be greater than your feelings. I don’t demand this of you—life does. Otherwise you’ll be washed away by feelings. You’ll be washed out to sea and never seen again.”
“The danger with hatred is, once you start in on it, you get a hundred times more than you bargained for. Once you start, you can’t stop.”
—The Human Stain