Roth started strong, fell off the pace when a novelist is typically in his prime, then rebounded remarkably in his 60s and kept going in his 70s. His rival Updike, in contrast, took an odd pleasure in having a career like an athlete’s, with a long decline phase after a mid-career peak.
As I wrote earlier this month when the Swedish Academy announced that it wouldn’t give out a Nobel Prize in Literature this year for some complicated #MeToo reason:
So, you octogenarian white guys Don DeLillo, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, Tom Wolfe, and Tom Stoppard (parents evidently liked the name “Thomas” in the 1930s), try not to die before October 2019 because Nobels aren’t given out posthumously. On second thought, as straight white guys you were all pretty much out of the running anyway, not with talents like Ta-Nehisi “The Genius” Coates around, so don’t worry about it.