The way in which serious fiction eludes paraphrase and description -- hence requiring thought -- is a nuisance to your cultural journalist. Only its imagined sources are to be taken seriously, only that fiction, the lazy journalist's fiction...And a bit later on in the same letter:
If I had something like Stalin's power, I would not squander it on silencing the imaginative writers. I would silence those who write about the imaginative writers... I'd outlaw reading groups and Internet book chatter, and police the bookstores to be certain that no clerk ever spoke to a customer about a book ... I'd do this for as many centuries as are required to detoxify the society of your poisonous nonsense.Heh heh.
Reading Roth's prose is like drinking clear water after a lifetime of Tab and box wine. It feels like the only acceptable prose: completely truthful, insistently intelligent, and devoid of lyricism and posturing. This is the last Zuckerman book, and when Roth goes, something really big will have ended. And we won't know what that is until we see what comes next.