Perhaps Prospero is really done with his books. The retired Philip Roth, who announced in November that he had stopped writing fiction for three years, told the French newspaper Le Monde: "A 50-year struggle is quite enough. I don't wish to be a slave any longer to the stringent exigencies of literature. I've overthrown my master and am free to breathe." The man who brought us Zuckerman and Portnoy is now working with the literary chronicler Blake Bailey on his biography. "I'm writing pages and pages of commentary for my biographer, but that's not writing fiction. It can't be. There's no misery in it."