Novelist Philip Roth has died

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Writing on "behaviour in extreme situations" was Roth's forte, tackling characters with "sheer playfulness and deadly seriousness", recording "life, in all its shameless impurity".

Roth's literary agent, Andrew Wylie, told U.S. media that the writer, who won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his acclaimed novel "American Pastoral", died of congestive heart failure.

Roth's 2004 novel "The Plot Against America" was thrust back into the public eye following the election of Donald Trump.

While Roth's work first appeared in print in the Chicago Review, his first published book-the 1959 novella and short-story collection Goodbye, Columbus-was the result of a Houghton Mifflin Fellowship.

In addition to winning almost every literary award for writers in English, Roth was also embraced by the Jewish community over his long career.

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Roth had been especially prolific in the years leading to his 2012 retirement from writing, turning out novels almost every two years. Roth was the author of more than 25 books, and a giant in American literature.

He identified himself as an American writer, not a Jewish one, but for Roth the American experience and the Jewish experience were often the same. Whether or when Roth would be awarded the prize was a frequent topic of discussion (paywall) among literary enthusiasts, especially as Roth entered his 80s and had seemingly won everything else, including a Pulitzer and a Man Booker International Prize.

His biographer, Blake Bailey, said the author died surrounded by "lifelong friends who loved him dearly", adding he was "a darling man and our greatest living writer".

In this March 24, 1960 file photo, the three winners of the National Book Award, Robert Lowell, from left, awarded for the most distinguished book of poetry, Richard Ellmann, victor in the non-fiction category, and Philip Roth, recipient of the award in the fiction category for his book 'Goodbye, Columbus, ' pose at the Astor Hotel in New York City.

Roth was born March 19, 1933 in Newark, and was raised in the city's Weequahic neighborhood, wedged between Routes 78 and 22.

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In correspondence with The New Yorker a year ago, Roth drew parallels between Trump and aviator Charles Lindbergh, who features prominently in Roth's novel The Plot Against America as an isolationist president during the 1940s.

"Roth's coarsest, frankest, and most exhilarating novel, Sabbath's Theater shows off Roth's linguistic verve, his brilliant characterisation, and his unparalleled ability to stare unblinkingly into the psyche of a depraved scoundrel", says Read It Forward, a website dedicated to all things literary.

Roth was married twice, first to Margaret Martinson Williams, from whom he divorced in 1963, and then to stage actress Claire Bloom.

The topics Roth wrote about included the Jewish experience in America, promiscuous male sexuality, and the hypocrisy and disillusionment of American political life since the 1940s.

In one notorious incident, Roth was shaken by a hostile reception he received at a 1962 literary symposium at New York's Yeshiva University.

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