Fancy buying Philip Roth's stereo? Auction appeals to literary fetishists

A forthcoming sale will cash in on our attraction to anything – but anything – touched by a revered writer. Has bookish bric a brac gone too far?

Would you like to own a large straw giraffe and a “shh” sign from the Ritz Carlton, both of which used to sit in the corner of Philip Roth’s front guest bedroom? Or how about the great American novelist’s seven-piece wicker patio suite? No? Then surely you’d go for a folding ladder found in his barn, or his stereo, doorstop or Samsonite rolling suitcase (“with original luggage tag filled out by Roth”)?

Litchfield County Auctions has just listed a bewildering number and variety of items from the estate of the writer, who died last year aged 85. It turns out that we have not only the towering majesty of novels such as Portnoy’s Complaint and American Pastoral to remember him by; if we feel so inclined and can spare a couple of hundred dollars, we can also bid to own the 13 pewter figures of the “People of Colonial America” that were kept in his attic.

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