What do you think about Philip Roth? He seems like the one guy everyone loves.
Roth is very respected today, but that's for a reason. He's very talented, don't get me wrong. But he satisfies something right now in the group of people I call the acumenarians. These are people who do not believe in God or the devil. They are children of the enlightenment, and they pride themselves on their acumen. They like to be right on things. They distrust the fanciful, the mystical, and the unanchored. Roth's not messy. And he writes wonderful books. So they love him and they adore him. Now whether he's a major novelist or not, I can't begin to tell you, because as I told you, I just don't read the good ones anymore.
Is this the worst time to be alive?
No, no, it's not. There's one good thing about old age that people don't recognize. Which is that if you have a reasonable old age, as I do, in that you're not in pain, and you're not in terrible trouble emotionally with your children, or your mate, then what happens is you cool. And you finally are cool in a way that you never were before. And you realize that you won and you lost, and that's just what happens to everyone else. They win and they lose also. And what you didn't succeed in doing, you didn't succeed in doing, so f--- it.
- From Norman, Still Stormin', the 19 Jan 07 Entertainment Weekly's interview with Norman Mailer.