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Shop Talk: A Writer and His Colleagues and Their Work
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Shop Talk: A Writer and His Colleagues and Their Work

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  192 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
In Philip Roth's intimate intellectual encounters with an international and diverse cast of writers, they explore the importance of region, politics, and history in their work and trace the imaginative path by which a writer's highly individualized art is informed by the wider conditions of life.
ebook, 176 pages
Published September 25th 2001 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 2001)
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Oct 27, 2007 Irwan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: wannabe writers
Shelves: finished
A little charming books consisting a series of "dialogue" between Phillips Roth and several other writers. I decided not to read this cover to cover (will do when I have time), but to pick a dialogue randomly, starting of course from the one I had read, Primo Levi, and continued with the ones I had heard like Milan Kundera, Saul Bellow, etc.

Levi talked about his being an author as well as a chemist. Kundera formulated the term novel and what it was to be a novelist very well to me. If I could o
Aug 27, 2007 Fred rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i guess it's not news to anyone who has read philip roth's books that judaism is a major theme for him, but in picking up this book i hadn't realized that the authors (and one artist) he spoke with would nearly all be jewish and that the conversations would revolve around that fact quite so fully. i'm jewish myself and self-centered as i am i enjoy reading about judaism and jews of accomplishment, but a lot of the issues explored here didn't really resonate with me. i think i would have preferre ...more
Ali Nazifpour
Apr 14, 2013 Ali Nazifpour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A series of extremely interesting interviews and articles. They deal with subjects like identity, tyranny, censorship, and Jewishness. A must-read.
May 29, 2014 Allan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
This wasn't what I expected from the title—authors talking shop—so I ended up reading it not in full mind to appreciate what virtues it does offer. This probably cost the book a star, but I can only respond as I was on the day; in this regard, titles matter.

I engrossed myself avidly in the nicely turned essay on Primo Levi which opens the book, but it mainly painted a picture I already knew. What I hadn't known is that Levi's signature book flopped on original publication, for being, I was left
Jul 21, 2009 miaaa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lamski kikita, lita
I'll be honest. I haven't read any of the works being discussed here, not even Roth's! Then if you asked why the heck I read this book? Here what I can tell you:

First of all, when you eager to know about how a toaster works you have two options of: go straight plug in the power socket and make a toast which at most will be overheated or you can check the manual and learn how to make a medium toast. So personally, this book provides a guidance before I read their works. Yes not enough, but at lea
Ben Dutton
Shop Talk, Philip Roth’s collection of conversations with other writers and reviews of yet others work, has some moments of deep insight into questions of Jewish identity in Europe post-WW2, but never actually gets anywhere close to exploring what the title suggests it might: the process of writing. What is here is also not always very good – the conversations with people like Aharon Applefeld, Primo Levi and Ivan Klima are intellectually stimulating and challenging pieces – if under developed g ...more
Feb 06, 2010 Richard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The interview with Edna O'Brien is by far the best part in here, but my overall disappointment is that this book is not filled so much with conversations as with interviews, where Roth constructs paragraph-long questions (questions in the guise of diatribe at times), when I think I had a desire to read conversations, exchanges of ideas. And the follow-up pieces exclusively from Roth on different artists falls into the mode that I find unenjoyable from him--paint-spatters of literary name-droppin ...more
Hal Shanis
Sep 14, 2016 Hal Shanis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since Roth has stopped writing, if you love his work, you may be starving for his voice. This non-fictional work, one of the few works by him that i hadn't read, for me helped satisfy that craving. It was entertaining to discover Roth's personal thinking and the personalities of his author friends. Also his first-hand accounts of the works of his friends, who also happen to be his favorite authors, like Bellow and Singer, provide insight into the development of their craft and what makes a good ...more
Dec 06, 2008 Aaron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roth’s shadow career in magazine writing has always been an under appreciated aspect of his writing. Unlike “Reading Myself and Others,” “Shop Talk” is not a justification for earlier novels, but is instead the kind of safe literary interview series one expects in the back of highbrow magazines; inessential but interesting.
incipit mania

Un venerdì di settembre del 1986 giunsi a Torino per riprendere una conversazione con Primo Levi iniziata un pomeriggio a Londra nella primavera precedente.....
Chiacchiere di bottega
Apr 16, 2010 Andru rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, criticism
Some interviews with fellow writers that didn't particularly impress me. Much discussion of the individual writer's works and with being Jewish, but except for occasional things from Klima and Kundera, not much memorable.
Mariana Orantes
Jul 25, 2008 Mariana Orantes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tuve problema con la parte de Bellow porque no tengo todas las lecturas para entenderla del todo bien, pero la retomaré. La parte de Malamud está bonita y pues me gustó sobre todo la parte de Levi, Malamud, Apelfeld.
Apr 27, 2014 Kiof rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Rarely do the judgements rendered by the participants involved transcend the subjective or the superficial -- that is, except in the essays, which feel like vagabonds in an interview collection. Roth comes off as a studious, reverential interviewer throughout. File under: memorabilia.
In meinem Regal steht die deutschsprachiche Ausgabe aus dem Hanser Verlag
Ayelet Waldman
Feb 26, 2013 Ayelet Waldman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found these fascinating, but I can't help but feel that Roth is a total dick.
Oct 03, 2013 Edith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and revealing set of interviews and literary critiques.
European Douglas
Apr 30, 2014 European Douglas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The interviews and musings in this book really awoke something in me.
Pedro Víctor
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Mar 10, 2010
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Philip Milton Roth is an American novelist. He gained early literary fame with the 1959 collection Goodbye, Columbus (winner of 1960's National Book Award), cemented it with his 1969 bestseller Portnoy's Complaint, and has continued to write critically-acclaimed works, many of which feature his fictional alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman. The Zuckerman novels began with The Ghost Writer in 1979, and inc ...more
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