Dude, I’ve been doing some serious boosterism around here lately. You’re my Nobel pick, you’re brilliant, yadda yadda. Why you gotta hate a playah? I’m just starting out, man. Let me live in my fantasy world a little longer.
Roth has long been pessimistic about the survival of the novel in a gaudy, short-attention-span culture, but his latest prophesy is one of his bleakest yet, predicting that the form will dwindle to a “cultic” minority enthusiasm within 25 years.The author believes that the concentration and focus required to read a novel is becoming less and less prevalent, as potential readers turn instead to computers or to television. “I was being optimistic about 25 years really. I think it’s going to be cultic. I think always people will be reading them but it will be a small group of people. Maybe more people than now read Latin poetry, but somewhere in that range,” Roth told Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast.
He said it was “the print that’s the problem, it’s the book, the object itself”. “To read a novel requires a certain amount of concentration, focus, devotion to the reading. If you read a novel in more than two weeks you don’t read the novel really. So I think that kind of concentration and focus and attentiveness is hard to come by – it’s hard to find huge numbers of people, large numbers of people, significant numbers of people, who have those qualities,” he said.
Oh, “cultic minority enthusiasm”. I can get that. That’s like poetry. Okay, so I can still write novels, I just have to work a grindingly depressive day job until they bury me in the cold, cold ground. Gotcha. Thanks, Phil!