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Author Says New Zuckerman Novel to be the Last

The real-life novelist Philip Roth has written so often, and in so many books, about the fictional novelist Nathan Zuckerman, that the equation is irresistible: Zuckerman equals Roth.

Roth has spent a lifetime warning people off the easy assumption that fiction is memoir, with the names changed to protect the author and publisher from lawsuits.

And his latest novel, Exit Ghost, is all about the gap between the writer's life experience and his art. It involves the characters who figured in Roth's 1979 novel, Ghost Writer.

When Roth began writing about Nathan Zuckerman, the protagonist was 23 years old. The character is now 71. Roth, who is 74, tells Robert Siegel Exit Ghost is the last of the Zuckerman novels.

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