Thursday, May 20, 2021

the last book I ever read (Philip Roth: The Biography, excerpt one)

from Philip Roth: The Biography by Blake Bailey:

The Roth family stopped going to Bradley Beach in the early years of the war, when the little towns along the Jersey Shore were blacked out, the beaches littered with detritus from torpedo warfare and patrolled by Coast Guard dogs sniffing the air for Nazi saboteurs. The Roths’ first summer back was 1944, and they were there again in August 1945, when atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan surrendered a few days later, and that night people poured into the streets of Bradley Beach banging pots and pans and honking their horns. Kids formed a conga line along the boardwalk, and Philip was among them, his jubiliation tempered somewhat by the sight of older people sobbing on benches—“probably the parents of boys who had been killed,” he thought. “The war was over and it was a wonderful thing, but not for them. They would have this grief forever.”

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