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In quest of the unpublished manuscript of a martyred Yiddish writer, the American velist Nathan Zuckerman travels to Soviet-occupied Prague in the mid-1970s. There, in a nation straightjacketed by totalitarian Communism, he discovers a literary predicament, marked by institutionalised oppression, that is rather different from his own. He also discovers, among the oppressed writers with whom he quickly becomes embroiled in a series of bizarre and poignant adventures, an appealingly perverse kind of heroism. The Prague Orgy, consisting of entries from Zuckerman's tebooks recording his sojourn among these outcast artists, completes the trilogy and epilogue Zuckerman Bound. It provides a startling ending to Roth's intricately designed magnum opus on the unforeseen consequences of art.
In 1997, Philip Roth won the Pulitzer Prize for American Pastoral. In 1998 he received the National Medal of Arts at the White House and in 2002 the highest award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Gold Medal in Fiction, previously awarded to John Dos Passos, William Faulkner and Saul Bellow, among others. He has twice won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has won the PEN/Faulkner Award three times. In 2005 The Plot Against America received the Society of American Historians' Prize for the outstanding historical novel on an American theme for 2003-2004. Recently Roth received PEN's two most prestigious prizes: in 2006 the PEN/Nabokov Award 'for a body of work...of enduring originality and consummate craftmanship' and in 2007 the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for achievement in American Fiction, given to a writer whose 'scale of achievement over a sustained career...places him or her in the highest rank of American literature.' Roth is the only living American writer to have his work published in a comprehensive, definitive edition by the Library of America. The last of the eight volumes is scheduled for publication in 2013.