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Advice for Aspiring Writers

A new, “compulsively readable” biography of Philip Roth contains, according to reviewer Christian Lorentzen, “a blueprint for enduring literary stardom”:

Its lessons include: never marry; have no children; lawyer up early; keep tight control of your cover designs; listen to the critics while scorning them publicly; when it comes to publishers, follow the money; never give a minute to a hostile interviewer; avoid unflattering photographers; figure out what you’re good at and keep doing it, book after book, with just enough variation to keep them guessing; sell out your friends, sell out your family, sell out your lovers, and sell out yourself; keep going until every younger writer can be called your imitator; don’t stop until all your enemies are dead.

So this is why I’m not famous.



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