Here’s a shoutout to two grand old geezers of American letters. Philip Roth at age 77 is the Clint Eastwood of fiction. No patronizing excuses have to made for Roth’s recent output and even though his latest, Nemesis, is a bit sudsy, and somewhat frailer than his last brilliant volume, Indignation, it’s masterful. Nemisis’ bittersweet tale of a polio panic in Newark (where else?) in the late 1940’s is told without comedy or irony but with a new Rothian compassion. Stylistically he remains as smooth as cream cheese. While we’re on the subject of scribbling seniors, John LeCarre’s new Our Kind of Traitor is being greeted with triumphant trumpets. Le Carre is 79.

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