Author Philip Roth dead at 85

Philip Roth, a prize-winning novelist and fearless narrator of sex, death, assimilation and fate, has died.

The celebrated and controversial author of Portnoy's Complaint, The Counterlife and other novels was 85. His death was confirmed by his literary agent, Andrew Wylie, who said Roth died Tuesday night of congestive heart failure.

Roth won virtually every literary honour, including the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral.

Barack Obama presents the National Humanities Medal to Roth during a ceremony at the White House in 2011. (Jim Waterson/AFP/Getty Images)

Author of more than 25 books, Roth was a fierce satirist and uncompromising realist, confronting readers in a bold, direct style that scorned false sentiment or hopes for heavenly reward.

He was an atheist who swore allegiance to earthly imagination, whether devising pornographic functions for raw liver or indulging romantic fantasies about Anne Frank.

More to come

From "Goodbye, Columbus" to "The Plot Against America," the celebrated novelist reflects on his literary identities, fame, family, controversy and growing old in this conversation with Eleanor Wachtel from 2009. 52:41

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