Both are routinely found in his writing -- from his first novella, "Goodbye, Columbus," to his best-known "Portnoy's Complaint," to his more recent "American Pastoral."
Like any serious writer with a long career, Roth has been the object of scorn and praise -- he's won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award; but critics have also called him a self-hating Jew and a misogynist.
Now Roth has written his 29th book. "Indignation" is set during the second year of the Korean War and Roth's narrator is Marcus Messner, a 19-year-old son of a Newark kosher butcher.
He says he had young people in mind as an audience of his new book, "... not that it's written for a young audience, but I had them in mind this way: that life has changed so drastically on a college campus since 1951, when this book is set, and the ethical norms, the social norms, the moral norms have all changed drastically; and therefore, I think they'll be quite surprised when and if they read this book."
Also on the show: jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli -- after 25 years of making records, he's finally decided it was time to honor one of America's greatest composers. Bob talks to Pizzarelli about his album, "With a Song in My Heart," which pays tribute to the late Richard Rogers.
Bob Edwards Weekend" is a two-hour interview showcase, in which celebrated host Bob Edwards highlights the life and work of interesting people, from newsmakers, historians, and authors to artists, actors, and regular folks too. The show is produced by XM Satellite Radio and distributed nationwide by PRI.